Are you teaching your children to FEAR food? Parents obsessed with fad dieting and their weight are leading to a generation of kids who are afraid of mealtimes, nutritionist says
- Speaking negatively about food and weight gain can make kids fear mealtime
- Celebrity nutritionist Mandy Sacher suggests focusing on the benefits of food
- She also recommends loosely structuring meal times and avoiding fad diets
In the current pressure-filled climate of Instagram bodies and images of impossibly fit supermodels everywhere we go, it’s little wonder that many of us have serious hang ups about what we eat.
But some experts now worry that some parents may be inadvertently teaching their own children to have an unhealthy relationship with food.
Australian Paediatric nutritionist and founder of online blog Wholesome Child Mandy Sacher believes that many of are unintentionally teaching our kids to fear food.
Mandy Sacher at home with her two children
‘As parents, it is our responsibility to be aware of the behaviour we model and that we stock the pantry for balance,’ Mandy told Mamamia.
‘We are only human and sometimes, without realising it, we impart our own hang ups down the generation chain,’ she continued.
As role models, Mandy says that we are ‘shaping our child’s experience of mealtimes and their relationship with food.’
But Mandy says there are some key principles that we can follow to ensure our children enjoy healthy, life-enhancing food and eat all things in moderation.
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Nutritionist Mandy Sacher (pictured) is responsible for overhauling the diets of PR queen Roxy Jacenko’s children Pixie and Hunter
Steer clear of fad diets
Ms Sacher warned that while fad diets are not advisable for anyone, they are especially dangerous for children as they do not provide the nutrients that young kids need for growth and development.
Promoting any diet plan that involves skipping meals or fasting are definitely not suitable for children, she advises.
Mandy frequently shares healthy suggestions for kids lunchboxes on her Wholesome Child Instagram page. She also has a dedicated page on her website to nutritious, tasty recipes.
One of her gluten-free, nut-free and vegetarian options includes cheesy cauliflower falafel patties, packed with protein fibre and lots of flavours to keep kids happy.
Cheesy cauliflower falafels (pictured left) are one of Ms Sachers’ top suggestions for kids lunchboxes; an antioxidant beetroot smoothie (right) shown on Ms Sacher’s Instagram Wholesome Child
Watch how you speak about weight
When discussing food, always be mindful that children could be listening and even subconsciously pick up on what you are saying.
Focus on the benefits that meals are giving to our bodies as opposed to talking about weight gain or other negative connotations surrounding food, Ms Sacher says.
‘Don’t vilify food,’ she cautioned.
Many believes that promoting a health attitude to food as well as body image is beneficial for both parents and children.
Healthy vanilla cauliflower muffins from Mandy Sacher’s Wholesome Child recipes
Ensure constant structure
Speaking to FEMAIL previously, Ms Sacher revealed that the single biggest cause of children’s temper tantrums is ‘hanger’, a hunger attack that hits tired, cranky kids in need of a feed.
Be sure that kids start the day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast and that they never skip meals.
Putting a routine in place to ensure that meal times happen at roughly the same time every day will allow you to be certain that your little ones are adequately nourished at all stages of the day.
‘As a rule of thumb, toddlers need three meals a day, alongside two snacks – they should never go for more than two hours without food – and ideally, this should be the right sort of food,’ she said.
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