Parenting Style Influences the way a child eats

Have you ever wondered why certain children are overweight? Well according to experts a child’s weight has a lot to do with not only their genes, and what they eat, but HOW they eat, and the way their parent raises them. Read below to find out more:

“A child’s development is influenced in a number of ways. The same is true for eating behaviors.

Among these, research has suggested a connection between parenting styles and children’s eating behaviors, attitude toward food, and body weight. At about age 2, children move away from eating solely for reasons of hunger, to eating that is influenced by their environment and parental influences.

Although there are numerous ways to describe parenting, a body of research has proposed four general categories of parenting styles. These patterns of parenting are defined based on degrees of demandingness/behavioral control or responsiveness/warmth/supportiveness. They include authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative.

Authoritarian style, parents are extremely strict and controlling when it comes to behavioral issues, such as eating. They tend to be less sensitive to their child’s emotions and instead stress authority and obedience. There is little to no discussion between parent and child. Parents are more directive and demanding. They do not expect their child to disagree with them.

When it comes to feeding, authoritarian parents may focus on food restriction, or pressure the child to eat. They make decisions about the type and amounts of food the child eats. The child has little room for self-expression. Punishment may be involved if the child does not comply with the parent’s wishes. Interestingly, authoritarian parents are often not good role models when it comes to healthy eating and body weight.

Numerous studies suggest that this style of parenting results in a greater risk of the child being over- or underweight. The thought is that children raised in this fashion do not learn how to self-regulate eating. They have more trouble recognizing internal hunger and fullness cues. They may also demonstrate more food obsessions and cravings. Additionally, the stress of this parenting style can promote emotional eating.

The permissive style of parenting involves few rules. Parents tend to be more indulgent, accepting, and warm, while imposing little control and minimal limits. There are few demands on behavior by the parents. Children establish their own rules and schedules.

When it comes to eating, children with permissive parents have trouble with impulse control. They tend to be more immature and less likely to accept responsibility. In general, permissive parents also tend to be poor models of healthy eating. Their children are also at risk for being overweight or obese.

Uninvolved or disengaged parents are not demanding and respond minimally to their children. Healthy foods may not be as available in the home and mealtimes may not be planned. Extreme cases may include neglect and rejection of the child. Children raised in his manner may feel insecure about food/eating and may become overly focused on food. Such parents often have other issues taking up their time and focus besides attention to the quality and quantity of their child’s eating.

The authoritative or moderate style of parenting tends to be the most effective for promoting healthy eating behaviors and body sizes in children. Parents using this style set limits but take into consideration the feelings of the child even if they do not agree. They usually take the time to explain the reasons behind their rules around eating. They are firm with kindness and warmth. There are expected, age-appropriate standards and some structure around meal and snack times.

In this style, food intake is monitored and guided through reasonable limit-setting. There is consistency in reinforcement of known guidelines — meaning the rules do not change — so the child behaves accordingly. For the child, this promotes independent thinking and self-regulation. Parents are more likely to model healthy eating behaviors, consistent with their beliefs and expectations for their child.

So what are some guidelines for parents that increase the chance of raising a child with healthier eating behaviors and body weight? Setting clear, reasonable rules around eating that are consistently enforced helps the child learn self-control. It is important to listen to the child, respect his or her ideas, and share the reasons behind the rules. Parents should also model healthy eating behaviors.

It is the parent’s role to provide an inventory of healthy foods in the home. It is the child’s role to decide if, how much, and which foods he or she will eat at the designated meal and snack times. This allows the child to practice decision making within the boundaries of healthy eating choices. The child then feels independent and empowered.

A child’s body weight should not be compared to another’s, or the child demeaned because of body size. A parent should try to avoid making rules that are allowed to be broken at times — such as when the parent is tired, stressed, or falls prey to a child’s pleading — because the child receives mixed messages. This may also occur if healthy eating is promoted, but less healthy foods are used as a reward. Additionally, there may be confusion if there are multiple caregivers or if the parents have different parenting styles.

Obviously, parents are human and may exhibit each of the above parenting styles at one time or another. Based on the majority of research to date, however, the more closely they follow the authoritative style of parenting, the more likely they are to have children with healthier diets, a better body weight, and a more positive attitude toward food.”

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Halloween Candy Management.

Halloween is approaching, and I don’t know about you but I’m VERY excited.  Beyond the awesomeness of picking out a really fun Halloween costume, and playing “Monster Mash” while your child dances around with excitement at the prospect of joining their friends singing the chant “Trick or Treat” as they go from home to home–there is also the awesomeness of having to deal with the aftermath of it all. You know–the butt-load of candy that your child has in their candy bag? The fact that by eating such an amount of candy the child is more susceptible to a bellyache, a sugar rush, a choking hazard, and a cavity.  So what are some ways to make the “candy binge” more manageable? Look below at some really nice tips I’ve gotten from the LA Times:

Go easy on the stomach. To avoid digestive upset, agree in advance on how many treats your child can eat on Halloween night. Let him pick out those two or three favorite pieces of candy and immediately put the rest aside.

Don’t eat during trick-or-treating. Make sure kids come home with their loot so you can inspect it before they dig in. Feed them a healthy dinner before they go out so they’re not as tempted to snack.

Beware of choking hazards. Very young children shouldn’t have small, hard items such as chewing gum, peanuts or hard candies. Older children should be sitting down when they eat, not running around or wrestling with each other.

Spare the braces. Sticky, chewy or hard candy can bend or break wires in a child’s mouth. Kids with braces should stay away from treats such as jawbreakers, caramel candies, nut-filled chocolates, taffy, licorice, gummies and chewing gum.

Throw out unwrapped treats. Also avoid anything with loose or torn wrappers or small holes in the packaging; when in doubt, throw it out. And stay away from homemade treats unless you know the person who made it well.

Control leftovers. Limit kids to about two pieces a day from their stash of goodies, or have them trade in their candy for a toy, book or family outing. You can save the candy for a special occasion – a birthday party pinata, for example – or put it out in a bowl at work. Many dentists also offer buy-back programs.

5 ways to get your child to eat Veggies

If your a mommy that has a hard time getting your child to eat veggies then read the article below to gather tips on how to get your child to WANT to eat veggies! The article was found on the San-fransico Chronicle.


“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last month indicating that American adults were eating fewer vegetables in 2009 than they were in 2000.

The study didn’t specifically look at children but we can only guess that if the parents aren’t eating green stuff then their children aren’t either. And so it seems like an appropriate time to bring in an expert who can offer up some fresh ways for parents to prepare veggies for their kids.

Enter Catherine McCord, Los Angeles mother of two whose wildly popular Weelicious website is dedicated to feeding kids healthy, yummy foods. With inventive recipes, fabulous photography, and fun instructional videos, McCord encourages parents to get their kids eating green beans, carrots, corn, salad, even beets, kale, onions, and okra.

McCord says that parents often offer their kids a veggie only once or twice. If the children spit out the food and say they don’t like it, then the parents say, “Well, I guess that my kid is just a picky eater.”

“Studies show that it takes up to 10 tries before a person starts enjoying a certain vegetable,” McCord says. “We also have a habit of not offering our kids foods that we don’t enjoy. I try to offer my kids a variety of foods and let them decide on their own if they enjoy them without saying a word either way. We have a tiny garden, go to the farmers market to try the fruit and vegetable samples and try to include the kids in the cooking process as often as possible. The more you can empower your kids in the kitchen, the more excited they will be about trying new foods.”

We asked McCord to offer up 5 fun ways to prepare vegetables for kids.

1) Sweet Beet Cookies

Catherine McCord

McCord says: “Not only are these cookies gorgeous, perfectly sweet and super crunchy, they’re also packed with folates and vitamin C. They’re the kind of treats that make everyone happy. Beet that!”

Sweet Beet Cookies recipe

2) Kale Chips

McCord says: “When you’re trying to inspire kids to eat healthy, my experience has been if whatever you are making for them is in the form of a chip, muffin, pancake or on-a-stick, it’s usually a hit! We’ve been making these kale chips a lot recently and I can’t tell you how fast they disappear! I truly can’t believe how tasty they are — I know that’s a huge statement, but I think I like them even more then potato chips (and that’s saying a lot)!”

Kale Chips recipe

3) Cheddar Cauliflower

McCord says: “When I was a kid, my mother would take an entire head of cauliflower, bake it, cover it with tons of grated cheddar cheese and then put it back into the oven to continue baking until it looked like a great big orange basketball. I loved the taste, but felt if I recreated it, it may look a bit overwhelming to a little kid. I think smaller pieces of roasted cauliflower with just a light sprinkling of melted cheddar has more eye appeal for little ones.”

Cheddar Cauliflower recipe

4) Baked Zucchini Coins

McCord says: “Zucchini has a very delicate flavor, so I focused on a simple preparation. These zucchini coins are baked, which makes them crunchy on the outside and soft and tender inside — a real textural treat for kids. Add a little tomato sauce on the side and they’re the perfect side dish for your family to enjoy with any meal.”

Baked Zucchini Coins recipe

5) Maple Roast Veggies

McCord says: “This roast veggies dish is a holiday favorite in my house and is great no matter if you are having twenty people over or just two. I first started making this simple dish for Thanksgiving years ago, but it’s so delicious and easy to make that I started making it all the time. Roasting is one of the best techniques for getting the maximum amount of flavor out of vegetables. They become super tender, sweet on the inside and a bit caramelized on the outside. For anyone who has a child who is prone to say, ‘I hate vegetables,’ just try making this dish and tell me if those words ever come out of their sweet little mouths again!”

Maple Roast Veggies recipe
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Shopping to Find a Bargain

I posted a blog post last week about ways to save money. In that post I provided tips about ways in which I’ve learned how to better manage my money, budget, and save when I go shopping for groceries each month. That list has helped save me anywhere from $100-150 per month. Which may not be much, but goes a long way when you’re operating from a pretty tight budget.  A great way to also save is to KNOW those places that offer easy “finds” and bargains. So here’s a very brief, short list of the places I go when I’m bargain hunting.

Cleaning Supplies, Paper products & “small” decorative items. When I shop for these products I make sure to head to the “Dollar Store” or “Dollar Tree”.   The reason why, is because paper plates–a majority of the time-are non reusable. Why pay 4 dollars for a stack of plates that will only get thrown away when you can get these same plates for only a dollar? The same goes with cleaning supplies–why pay a sum total of 20 dollars to clean up your kitchen, bedroom, and bathrooms, when you can pay half of that at the Dollar store on the SAME products?  And, if your like me, I have a habit of going into a store and seeing something cute and automatically wanting to buy that item to use as a “decoration” piece for my apartment.  At the dollar store, you have a variety of “small” decorative items that you can use. From $4 dollar posters, to $3 dollar “welcome mats” and so on. Take advantage of those items. Yes the dollar store has somewhat of a “stigma” to it, but it’s a great place to shop for deals without even trying.

Produce/Fruit. I don’t know about you, but at my local grocery store, fruit is pretty expensive. I could end up spending $15-25 on fruit/produce each week which comes to a sum total of about $60-125 a month on fruit and produce. That’s pretty large chunk of money to spend.   So I recommend finding a fruit market within local proximity when you’re buying produce. At my local fruit market, a box of strawberries cost anywhere from .99 cents to $1.50. You can also find inexpensive organic produce at your local fruit market as well. Fruit markets are GREAT places to shop, if your on a budget and your still looking  to eat healthy.

The Basics. So when it comes to buying basic ingredients: flour, eggs, meat, etc. I take a trip to either a Super Wal-Mart or to Aldi’s. Both places are great for basic food products. Aldi’s is often better than Wal-mart.  I always recommend these two stores for people who are looking for an alternative to “high” costing food at their local grocery store.  There’s a stigma that Aldi is for a “certain” group of people. Ignore it.  If your smart, then use your buck wisely and invest in these low-costing stores.

Household items/ Beauty Products. For basic household items, that need to be replaced and for beauty products. Target and Wal-Mart are your friends. There’s nothing else really to be said about these stores–since they are well-known. I’ve bought covers, sheets, and towels,  from both Target and Wal-Mart–rather than Bed Bath and Beyond. I’ve bought soaps, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc from these stores as well. Again, these are great stores to go to when your looking for some of those larger and (smaller) house hold items and beauty products.

And…. If you must make a trip to your local store, then use the tips that I provided about “Ways to Save money”, as that will help you save a big buck even at an expensive local store.

Rewarding Children without food

Last week I created a blog post about the numerous parents, coaches and friends that reward our children with “food”.  As stated in that posting, it’s become so ingrained in our society that food is often the best way to celebrate major and minor accomplishments. that people often find themselves unconsciously “rewarding” themselves by emotionally eating. I also stated that it’s one of the worse ways, in my opinion, to reward a child.  And in a society with a large portion of overweight children and adults–if anything we need to figure out ways to STOP incorporating food–in our lives–more than we incorporate other “fulfilling” activities and rewards.  So I’ve provided a brief list of possible ways you can reward your child, without resorting to food.

Chart Systems. If you have children between 7 and 10, I recommend investing in a chart system in order to find some creative fun ways to reward your child. What do I mean? Create a Chart, and post it on the wall in the hallway next to the bedrooms or on the Fridge.  The chart should include:  a star-point system(which is completely up to you),  rows of specific or “model” activities/behaviors that warrant rewards, columns with your children’s names,  and star stickers which are placed on the chart whenever a model behavior is performed. For instance “cleaning up the room” could be the header of one row, the next row could be “good grades on homework”, the following row could be “scored a goal at the soccer game” and so on.  In each column you’ll have each child’s name(or if one child just one column with the child’s name). Every time your child does something that is “good” or worthy of a reward, put star-stickers next to that event within that particular row–under that child’s name.  You then implement a reward for a certain amount of star stickers that are placed under the child’s name. You can do it two ways: you can have so that once the child has a certain amount of stars under their name(10 stars for instance)  they get a reward  OR each activity warrants a different amount of stars (example an A on a paper is 3 stars, cleaning up the room 1 star).   The number of stars the child has will lead to a certain reward. For instance a Barbie doll may equal 20 stars, whereas a whistle equals 1 star.  You can buy toys from the dollar store, or from Wal-Mart to keep it inexpensive. The “point system” is a GREAT way to motivate kids to KEEP doing good, as well as a great way to show the child that certain behaviors mean more compensation.

The magic box. If your child is between 4 and 7, the chart may be too complex. I recommend heading over to Wal-Mart, or the Dollar Store and buying a variety of toys. Then buying a toy chest and pouring those toys into the chest.  Every time your child does something “good” or something that typically warrants a reward the child takes a trip to the magic box and pick out his/her favorite toy. The catch is they ONLY get to pick ONE toy. You can really get creative by investing in two magic boxes. One magic box that is used when your child improves upon their previously “bad” behaviors(tantrums, lying, not sharing etc), and another  box when the child does nice gestures (cleaning up without being told, getting a good grade in school, etc).

Favorite hobby or event. If your child is between 10 and 14 I recommend that a parent rewards that child by allowing the child to participate in the child’s favorite hobby or favorite “event”, whenever the child makes a worthy accomplishment. For instance if your child loves video games, then when the child comes home with all A’s take them to their favorite Arcade. Or if your daughter loves music, when she cleans up her room consistently, then take her to a local  “free” concert with one of her friends.

Bonus. If your child is between the ages of 15 to 18 then I recommend using a “bonus” system whenever the child does something “good”. For instance if your child’s curfew is typically 12:00 AM on a school night then one night extend it by two hours–once your child makes a worthy accomplishment. Or if your child has a prepaid phone buy your child extra minute when he/she does something worthy of an award.  Most parents have a few bendable rules (curfew, dating, friends, car privileges) that can be “bent” in a favorable direction when that child makes an accomplishment.

I hope this helps!