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Mistake When Parents Feeding Their Children  Some of the strategies that parents of preschool and elementary school children in the U.S. are pursuing to provide children with a more balanced and nutritious diet are likely to fail.

this conclusion was based on a survey by Pediatric Hospital C.S.Mott of the University of Michigan, which was based on the responses of 1,083 parents of children aged 3-10 across the country.

Three out of five parents adjust meals if their child doesn’t like what everyone else is eating, and this often leads to a less healthy alternative. Also, one in eight parents is pressuring children to eat all the food on their plate. However, experts warn that parents trying to force their children to eat can lead to overeating.

More than half of the participants said children should try a little bit of everything, and fewer than a third say no to dessert if the meal isn’t over.

At the same time, just one-third of parents believe that the usual American diet is healthy, compared to half who seem to recognize the higher nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet. However, only 9% have tried the Mediterranean diet in children.

The biggest challenges parents face in trying to ensure their child receives a healthy diet are that the child eats selectively, as well as higher costs of healthy food and food waste. 27% say their child doesn’t like healthy food and 12% say they don’t have time to prepare healthy food.

Nearly all parents surveyed reported trying at least one strategy to get their child to eat vegetables, such as serving vegetables every day, making vegetables the child prefers, trying vegetables the child has never eaten before, and letting children pick vegetables at the grocery store. Others involve children in preparing vegetables, hiding vegetables in other foods, or offering a reward for eating vegetables.

The hospital’s pediatrician, Susan Woolford, points out that ” preschool and first school age is an important period for establishing healthy eating standards. However, parents ‘ concern about whether their child is eating enough or getting the nutrients they need may lead them to adopt practices that essentially sabotage their efforts to get children healthy eating habits in the short and long term.”

“Instead of allowing the child to choose an alternative menu, provide a balanced meal with at least one option that their child is usually willing to eat.” Even if the child chooses not to eat, “parents should not worry, as this will not cause harm to healthy children and they will be more likely to eat the options presented at the next meal.” Avoiding snacking between meals can also help children have more appetite and increase their willingness to eat offered foods.

“Parents should try to include children in meal decisions, avoid pushing food consumption, and provide a variety of healthy choices at each meal so children feel more in control.”

In addition, Ms. Woolford emphasizes that children learn through observation and imitation, so it is beneficial for parents to have a balanced diet as the children’s eating habits and taste preferences mature.

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