Common Halloween Candy Mistakes Parents Make
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The challenge for parents is learning to set limits without imposing too many dietary restrictions that can backfire.
Don’t put the good stuff out of reach.
A lot of research shows that children who grow up with a lot of dietary restrictions (especially children of parents who diet) develop unhealthy eating habits. In a study conducted at Pennsylvania State University, children were given unlimited access to fruit cookies on a plate. Another batch was placed in a transparent cookie jar, and the children were not allowed to eat them. When the kids were finally allowed to open the cookie jar after 10 minutes, they cracked, eating three times as much as when the cookies were freely available on the plates.
Other studies show that overt dietary restrictions – like putting candy and soda on a high shelf and controlling when a child can have them – only makes children want food more. Children who grow up in homes with very restrictive dietary rules are more likely to overeat, develop preferences for high fat and sugary foods, and be overweight.
Set boundaries so that children don’t feel restricted.
Avoiding dietary restrictions doesn’t mean parents have to give children unlimited access to all the foods they want. Parents can create boundaries that don’t seem restrictive to children. For starters, keep less healthy foods out of the house when you can. (Birthdays and holidays may be an exception.) Buy healthy foods and snacks, and give children free access to food cabinets. If you have Halloween candy around the house, put it in a basket with other snacks, like whole fruit or cereal bars, to make it seem less special and more like the other foods they are eating. are allowed to eat.
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A regular meal and snack schedule creates structure and can help you regulate a child’s feeding without them noticing. Encourage children to always eat in the kitchen, rather than in other rooms of the house or in front of the television.
“When you put food on a table, even if it’s candy, the food is just like any other food,” said Katherine N. Balantekin, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Science. exercise and nutrition at the University of Buffalo. “If you put limits on something, just indicate that the child will be given food again later. If you give them a candy and they come back for more, you might say, “We want to save enough candy for tomorrow so you can have some more.” “
Don’t treat candy as a reward.
Studies show that children react negatively when parents urge them to eat certain foods, even though the parents offer a reward. In one study, researchers asked children to eat vegetables and drink milk, offering them stickers and TV time if they did. Later in the study, children expressed dislike of the foods they had been rewarded for eating.
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