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Limit Your Child's Between-Meal Snacks

Limit Your Child's Between-Meal Snacks

One of the most frequent statements I hear from mothers is, "My child doesn't eat anything!" Yet a review of the child's weight often reveals that the child is at an appropriate weight, or even overweight, despite "never" eating. Furthermore, and too often, the child's face is smeared with crumbs from various chips, crackers, and cookies, and his tongue may range in color from green to purple after recently downing a juicebox. With a little further questioning, we get to the bottom of the real problem: the child doesn't eat anything when the family sits at the table for a meal.

Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day is good advice for your kids if the foods they eat are nutritionally adequate. But a constant infusion of cream-filled chocolate cookies and juice is not the foundation of a healthy diet! Your children will become "full" from eating unhealthy but tasty snacks and have no interest in lunch or dinner if you've stocked the cabinets with this kind of food and given them unlimited access to it. You can't expect your children to have the discipline to refrain from eating such foods if they are readily available.

Snacks that you provide are okay during the day, but sit your children down at the table to eat their snacks so that they develop the habit of doing their eating at the table. This can prevent your kids from getting into the habit of sitting in front of the TV with a bag of potato chips.

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