As a parent, summer activities may have slowed down. Now you may be worrying about the Quarantine 15! What can you do to get back to that pre-COVID weight?

Maybe you’ve tried hot yoga, kale chips and intermittent fasting. Friends have suggested Atkins, Whole30, Paleo and vegetarian diets.

But what about your kids? Should children follow your same exact diet? Or do they need more balanced meals that include all the food groups?

How children develop attitudes about food

Parents pick family meals and model children’s attitude toward food. It’s almost unavoidable that a change in eating behavior won’t trickle down and affect kids. But be careful — experts agree that children aren’t meant to diet.

According to The New York Times, “Eating for weight control poses specific risks for kids: Research shows that dieting now can increase your child’s risk for developing an anorexia, bulimia or another eating disorder later on, which is why, in 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report advising parents and pediatricians to focus on creating a healthy lifestyle rather than weight and weight loss with children.”

However, dieting isn’t the same thing as eating healthy. Parents should be aware of the nutrients a child needs, especially in their formative first five years. Parents.com explains what nine nutrients children need on a daily basis to be eating:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Your child is rapidly growing and changing. Take the time and care to provide them a balanced diet if you include them in your regimen. Find smart alternatives, additional food options and expert advice if you’ve adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Be mindful of how you talk about food and your own weight around your children. Parents can negatively influence their children’s body images. Find positive ways to frame your meals. Try to make them fun by including your kids in the shopping, cooking and table setting.

Childhood is when eating behaviors develop and create a foundation for a lifetime of eating habits. You want to be the healthiest you can be, while helping your child continue to be strong physically and emotionally.

For more information

At Suburban Pediatrics, we’re here for you and your family every step of the way. Check out our additional website resources and follow us on Facebook.