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Super Model

June 25, 2008; 5:01 am by UrbanBaby

fish.jpgSouth Beach, Hollywood and Scarsdale are fine places for kids to visit, unless those locales have the word “diet” in them. In a world where carbs and sugar have been so vilified, it’s important for parents to lay the groundwork for a healthy attitude toward food.

Donna Fish, a social worker specializing in eating disorders and the author of Take the Fight Out of Food: How to Prevent and Solve Your Child’s Eating Problems, offers tips on how children can enjoy real food for real life:

Super Bad: When eating diet-challenged foods such as fries or a donut, try not to say “This is bad for me” in front of your child (no matter how you feel).

Model Citizen: Set a good example. Stop eating after one portion. Show enthusiasm for your food.

Adults Only: Being a good role model doesn’t mean you can’t be on your own, say, low-carb diet. But your mini-me shouldn’t have the same food restrictions.

Clear Signals: Teach kids to stay connected to their body signals. Eat when hungry. Stop when full.

Intervention: Some kids have trouble self-regulating. It’s acceptable to tell a child who has trouble with intuitive eating, “It’s OK. You’ve had enough.” Many parents are held hostage by a fear of creating an eating disorder when in fact, a little parental guidance is in order.

Mirror, Mirror: Keep your vanity hidden inside your walk-in closet. Never say, “Do I look fat?” “I feel fat,” or variations thereof.

Forbidden Fruit (Or Cupcake): Prohibiting a child from eating junk food makes those treats all the more desirable. And when kids do have access to the banned treats at school or on a playdate, they become fixated on them, and all hopes of portion control go out the window.

Food for Thought: Be kid-relevant when explaining nutrition — for example, “You need to eat protein so you can concentrate during your soccer game,” or “Eat well and you’ll grow into those rollerblades.”

Enough: Kids should learn the concept of moderation. When parents lay the right foundation for good eating, children can navigate well for themselves.

Piece of cake.

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