Meal Wars – Part 3: The Child Who Overeats

As a parent, always remember to refer to the responsibilities that you and your child have. So here is some strategies to help you with the child that overeats:

1. Stay Positive – don’t judge, criticize, overreact, or call attention to your child’s overeating.

2. Tune in to your child’s emotional life – Stress and unhappiness can lead to overeating. Make time to talk to your child about their day. Listen to their problems and work together to address them. You may need to see professional help if necessary.

3. Fix and serve health meals and snacks (in reasonable portions) at regular times.

4. Limit fast food and foods high in fat and sugar. Keep fresh vegetables and fruits on hand.

5. Model good eating habits for your child.

6. Stay in touch with your own emotions and issues around food. They hear (and understand) you when you complain about eating or about the food you eat.

7. Eat slowly and teach your child to do the same. It takes twenty minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it’s full.

8. Try not to use food to comfort or reward your child. Give affection, encouragement, outings, and time together with you instead.

9. Get day-care providers and other caregivers on board to support your child in a healthier lifestyle. It’s a toughie, I know…

10. Help your child to be physically active. Find fun ways to get the whole family active and moving.

Reference to a lot of these situations can be found in Ellyn Satter’s book, Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense.

About Sharon M., MS RD

As a registered dietitian and a master gardener, I know the healing power of food. Nothing has given me more satisfaction than growing my own food. I have experience working in the public health field, including school districts. I have worked with pregnant moms, children, diabetics, and bariatric patients. I emphasis a plant-based, whole food diet. Yet, I appreciate the movement of eating sustainably, while hoping folks appreciate the bean as a source of protein. "To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld "Feeding is going well if both you and yor child are having a good time." -Ellyn Satter
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