You have probably already read and heard: “You should never force a child to eat”; "We let the child decide how much food to eat, the role of the parent is to choose the food presented".
In theory, indeed, to develop good eating habits and a he althy relationship with food in your child, it is important to follow certain rules.
The adult is responsible:
- Foods that are offered to the child at meals and snacks
- When food is offered
- From where food is offered
The child is responsible:
- Amount of food consumed at meals and snacks
In practice… the known and the unknown
Which means that the adult must choose the foods that the child will eat to ensure that they meet their nutrient needs throughout the day. In other words, the adult must offer a variety of nutrient-rich foods at meals and snacks to ensure that the child reaches his full potential and also to develop thepleasure of tasting new foods, of embarking on the unknown!
To embark on the unknown, we also put known foods on the plate! It can be discouraging for a child to see only unpopular or unfamiliar foods on their plate. If he does not taste any food, the child will be hungry and this may make him gloomy. For their part, the adult will be discouraged and will be tempted to make another meal or offer a hearty dessert to appease the child's hunger.
To avoid all this, the adult offers foods that are usually appreciated when an unknown food is introduced. And if the child does not touch the new food, well, at least he will eat the known and appreciated foods, if he is hungry or if that day he decides to eat them!
In practice… snacks to the rescue
Good, OK, but if the child does not eat what is offered to him at the meal or if he eats little, what to do? Do not panic! The solution: snacking. A snack is not only used to appease the child's hunger until the next meal. The snack is there to fill the nutritional needs that have not been met at me altime.
Here are some great snack ideas.
If, at me altime, the child has not consumed the source of protein (meat, poultry, tofu, fish, etc.) For example, at snack time, you can offer:
- Hard boiled egg rings on a whole grain cracker with tofu spread
- Tuna spread on slices ofcucumber or celery sticks
- Vegepâté on grilled pitas
If, at me altime, the child did not eat vegetables. For example, at snack time, you can offer:
- Vegetables and a dip he likes
- A gazpacho or a soup or a soup
- Croquettes or vegetable nuggets (either cold or hot) and a dip
If, at me altime, the child did not eat whole grains. For example, at snack time, you can offer:
- A muffin oatmeal
- A slice of whole grain bread spread with almond butter
- Whole grain crackers with bean filling
So by choosing and offering a variety of nutrient-dense foods at both meals and snacks, the adult is playing their part. Thus, he ensures that his child will reach his full potential, even if he does not eat everything on his plate at meals!
Reference: Ellyn Satter