The Herald – April 2015
“If you don’t buy it, they can’t it eat”
Fiona Montague is a nutritionist with her own business www.healthandnutrition.ie
She is more than capable of understanding how to steer her two children Abigail (4) and Noah (1) away from obesity.
“It is our responsibility as parents to ensure we teach our children the importance of good nutrition and help them create a healthy relationship with food.
Rewarding our children with treats is teaching children to eat when they need comforting, a learned behaviour they will most likely carry through life.
Equally if we teach them that porridge needs honey, water needs a sweetener or cereal needs sugar, we are passing on our preferences. Why create a reliance on sugary foods, artificial sweeteners and additives?
Children also learn at a very early age to test our boundaries and refusing food is one of those tests. Parents often relent and give their child anything just to get them to eat, which quite often is an unhealthy choice. Instead of eating nutritious foods which they need to grow and develop, our children have learnt how to get their own way and are now dictating what they eat.
No parent wants to admit their child may have weight issues, however recognising it sooner rather than later is in the best interest of the child’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Portion size, controlling the treats and exercise, are all key to ensuring our children stay at a healthy weight.
If you are worried about your child’s weight, it is important it is handled very delicately. Never make an issue about food or tell children they need to lose weight.
If you are eating out, choose wisely, not everything has to come with fries! Choose healthier treats and bring snacks on days out to avoid the temptation of stopping for ice-cream or sweets. The majority of food consumed by our children is purchased by us. It almost sounds too simple, but don’t buy it and they can’t eat it!”
As told to Arlene Harris.