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Home / Fitness and Health / I am a doctoral student who lets her child eat dessert in front of vegetables. Before you judge me, listen to me

I am a doctoral student who lets her child eat dessert in front of vegetables. Before you judge me, listen to me

Before I was pregnant I bought my first baby garment buried in my cupboard where my unsuspecting husband would not find it. It was a delightful baby bib with the famous quote "Life is Uncertain, First Eat a Dessert," a cheeky nod to my own non-excusing sweet tooth, and my aspirations for my hypothetical future child. Little did I know that years later would become my mantra for my son's meal and the subject of many debates among all who ever watched our eating routine.

When I was growing up, family meals usually included some kind of meat, a starch (usually potatoes ̵

1; my mother's side is British) and something green. When we found that we had enough of our vegetables, we got what we really wanted: dessert. It was not surprising that dinner at our house was a daily struggle that made my mother call her least favorite pastime.

Later in life, when my bliss faded, came another, more problematic eating problem: I was introduced to diet culture. In adulthood, I had no problem eating my vegetables. In fact, my problem was that I only wanted to eat vegetables, as the company had taught me that good girls ignored the clues of their bodies and only ate "good", "clean" food. Adding moral value to what was on my plate meant that too many cakes would be followed by a miserable cleanup, which, of course, fueled the endless cycle of repeating binge repeats. The end result was a devastating eating disorder that put my entire mental and physical health at risk.

Thanks to the therapy and commitment to intuitive eating, I am now a professional connoisseur (who is also a connoisseur). I have built a whole career by denouncing the food culture. I am also a mother of a vivacious 14-month-old boy, and although I am passionate about inheriting my hair, eyes, and musicality, I try my best to save him from accepting my former disturbed relationship with food.

This is an area where our children can perform really well with less instruction and intervention. Babies are born with an amazing innate ability to regulate their hunger and appetite. They cry when hungry and push away the bottle or breast when they are full. It's as simple as that. When they start with solid ingredients, they do not see broccoli as "dietary food" or identify cookies as forbidden "culpability" treats – foods only have different shapes, textures, flavors, and colors to satisfy hunger. Imagine for a moment how liberating this perspective would be.

Society and social interactions (most of which, at least initially, stem from the nutritional dynamics of the family) first teach us nutritional culture. And while it is impossible to protect my son completely from the world and the way society talks about food, I can change the way we house meals at home.

In many households, frequent starts with an innocent, well-meaning call: "Quit your vegetables and then you can have dessert." For a parent who makes a sensible transaction, but for a child who translates as: "My mother makes me eat the stinking Brussels sprouts first, which is a punishment I have with some cake This could help increase your child's dietary fiber intake in the short term, but it does not make him charge his Messingicas when he's not at home and nobody cleans his plate.

My plan was to offer a variety of foods with different flavors, textures and colors and different nutritional content and to use the intuition of my child as a guideline.I also started making dessert with his green beans, Serve sweet potatoes and fish, and have him eat first if he so wishes.

That may sound radical, but it i It is actually a well-researched and documented recommendation based on The Principles of Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility (sDOR ) was based on over 40 years of clinical work and research on Esskompetenz . Satter assumes that it is a parent's job to determine what, when, and where meals or snacks take place, and the toddler is responsible for determining which foods and how much he or she consumes. With this model, there is no need to play games, bargain, or play the short-order chef. Our child learns how to respond to the needs of his body and how to associate meal times with pleasure (not pressure). I do not stress what or how much it eats! He is the boss! He will eat more or less at his next snack or meal to fill in the blanks! (Of course, a child with allergies or other dietary restrictions, growth concerns, or sensory issues may need more guidance, so it's important to always discuss your diet with your pediatrician or a registered dietitian.)

In practice this means the following I serve our meal as a family and let the kiddo decide which items he wants to eat and in which order he wants to eat them. While the salad, rice and roast chicken portions are theoretically unlimited, Satter recommends restricting the dessert to a child-sized portion so that it does not suppress the appetite for other foods, but also erodes its "strength" and moral value.

] The reason for this unconventional arrangement is threefold.

Firstly, we inadvertently give our children the first hour by waiting for the dessert, until the children have eaten their vegetables (as with a "traditional" menu) in the diet: that sugar-rich and nutrient-poor foods with gluttony, desire and Are guilty and represent only the reward for eating not so tasty "good" foods.

Secondly, this encourages our kids to hurry through dinner to speed up the dessert, making meal time for the family less enjoyable.

And three, it provides external clues to displace our child's intuition for dessert, or to eat to the full with their entrees, only to then eat after fullness with dessert. Because, hey, do not we always have an extra stomach for the dessert?

While the food culture makes Satter more forgiving and unconventional, important health authorities, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the sDOR to teach children how they can follow their hunger and satiety symptoms and regulate their own food intake (an important aspect of eating skills). Research suggests that these skills help prevent over- or under-nourishment in order to support stable body weight, promote better food-acceptance abilities, and create more positive attitudes to food and eating. In contrast, controlling a child's diet often has the opposite effect of what is desired: if we press our children to eat more, they eat less, and if we press them to eat less, they eat more.

I know that not everyone has the luxury of making a double serving of chicken breast or kale in the hope that their children will first load their plate with these first-class ingredients. This approach is obviously best suited to people who can provide their children with balanced meals and snacks on a regular basis. This can be more difficult in situations where someone is insecure or where the parents are usually away from meals. But the most important principles of sDOR – not pushing, bribing, restricting, or assigning moral value – are likely to feed into the nutritional dynamics of many families.

I'm not even a year in the solid play. But so far, my son is an amazing, competent eater, and our mealtimes are stress-free and enjoyable for everyone. On some days he picks directly to his baked apple chips, on others broccoli or hamburger is eaten first. And the pattern of a meal is often turned around at the next takeaway.

I may be a dietitian, but as a mother, I am much more invested in the long-term goal of educating a competent eater with a healthy relationship with food, as the short-term goal, a certain number of grams of fiber per day to reach. Foods may not all be equal nutritionally but with this simple adaptation of the meal structure we can equal them morally . I'm sure I can teach my son a lot – his ABC, his table manners, and his housework – but this boy is already an expert on the food, so I'll let him do it in his own way. 19659041] Related:

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