You may think you always know best when it comes to what your toddler eats, but letting him take the lead could have a great pay off
Children who eat dinner at the table and serve themselves are more likely to be slimmer – and healthier – than those who don’t, a new study has revealed.
The U.S. study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, polled over 100 childcare centres in the US looking after two to five year olds.
The researchers found that kids who eat meals around the table, and not in front of the television, are less likely to be overweight as they know when they are full. And it gives you the chance to spend some quality family time together.
Eating at the table, your tot can select his own portion size whereas in front of the TV it’s more likely he’ll have a plate filled with the amount that you think is right.
‘Family-style meals give kids a chance to learn about things like portion size and food references,’ says the study’s lead author Dr Brent McBride, director of the child development laboratory at the University of Illinois. ‘When foods are pre-plated, children never develop the ability to read their body's hunger cues. They don't learn to say, okay, this is an appropriate portion size for me.’
And while it’s tempting to pressure your tot to have ‘just one more mouthful of broccoli’, it’s not helping him. The researchers said it’s important not to ask your child to finish all of his food, as he’ll then be ignoring the signs that he’s full and eat more than he needs to. So, maybe skip that dessert if he says he’s ‘too full’ for his veg…
This research has been published just after the discovery that spoon feeding your baby may encourage him to overeat.
Do you let your toddler chose his own portions? Let us know below.