6 Surprising Secrets about Feeding

Have you ever wondered about the best ways to encourage infants or children to eat healthy, nutritious food? Dietician and family therapist Ellyn Satter offers some advice. You may be surprised by some of what you find!

  1. Never force a child to eat. Instead, follow the Division of Responsibility system created by Ellen Satter. In this system, parents determine what children, infants, and almost toddlers eat, and the child determines whether to eat and how much. This system helps children to develop healthy and positive attitudes about feeding and food which will help them maintain a healthy weight and attitude toward food throughout their life.
  2. Introduce solid foods based on what your child can do more than how old they are. According to Ellyn Satter's website, the purpose of introducing solid foods is to help children learn to eat foods in a new way. Therefore, they should only start eating solid foods when they themselves are interested in it, and that interest is not something that can be forced. Some signs that show that an infant is ready are when they can sit up and interact with the spoon, maybe by picking it up, opening up for it, tapping it, or dropping it on the floor.
  3. Regularly offer "forbidden food". Yes, really. Forbidden foods might include things like chips, desserts, hamburgers, etc. Forbidden foods are what most consider "junk food". Why is it important to offer these foods regularly? If you make any food "forbidden" and restrict your child from eating it, he or she may eat more of it in the long run. Trust that your child's body has the ability to help her feel full when she is full.
  4. Picky eater in your home? Don't pressure them. Try to offer the foods you want them to eat in more interesting ways. For example, if you are trying to get them to eat vegetables, experiment with various ways to serve the vegetables. Try adding salt, fat, sauces, bread crumbs, herbs, or spices to tone down the vegetable flavor. Doesn't work? The Ellyn Institute advises to calm down and enjoy your own vegetables. Don't pressure the child to eat. Your example can help a lot.
  5. Have regular meals and snacks, and only offer water in between times. This advice applies to toddlers. However, let babies 5- 6 months and younger determine when and how often they eat. Infants between about 5 months and 9 months are in a transition period between eating on demand and eating at scheduled times.
  6. Have regular family dinners. Family dinners don't have to be perfect to be effective. The key is to make them occur regularly and to help them be pleasant, positive, and non-pressuring.

Would you like more information and great feeding advice? Check out the Ellyn Satter Institute website. It takes years for a child to develop healthy eating patterns, so be patient with them and yourself and don't give up. 

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Wednesday, 07 December 2022

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