Every parent wants their child to eat right and look healthy. Nevertheless, overfeeding is not the right way for your child to make this happen.
Besides, overfeeding usually does more harm than good – as it can lead to excess weight gain, which in turn, can make the child become obese.
Not only that, overfeeding your child can also lead to sleepless nights for both you and your child. This is because overfeeding may decrease the child’s metabolism – which can also inhibit the food consumed from digesting during the day.
Notwithstanding, it is usually recommended that there should be at least, a space of 2-3 hours in between meals, this will give the child enough time digest the food properly.
Without further ado, if you worried that your child is not eating enough or your child is not healthy? Here are 5 signs that will help enlighten you to know if you’re overfeeding your child – and recommended solutions on how to manage the situation;
- The Plate
Children shouldn’t be served on big plates. If your child has close to or the same amount of food that you have on your plate, that child is being overfed.
A good serving size recommended for children is about the size of your hand when folded together. Use smaller plates to help make sure they are served the right portions.
Also, teach your children to stop eating when they are full.
Overeating is usually developed over time, therefore, if you have noticed that your child is pushing food around, creating a mess with the food or isn’t finishing everything on the plate, it could be that you have served the child too much food.
However, it’s advised that you should always listen to your child and read the signs, especially when they are full.
Advisably, start with serving less food and serve more if they request for extra. Telling kids that they must finish their food is a sign of overfeeding. Never force feed or punish the child for not finishing their food.
- Over Snacking
Snacks are good for kids but over snacking isn’t.
However, it is recommended that children should take snacks once a day. Snacks like chocolate cookies, biscuits etc. can be replaced with fruits and fruit juices. ( but it’s advised that children are served fruit juices in small quantity or diluted with a little water).
- Emotional Feeding:
Parents often make the mistake of offering a snack when their child is sad, upset, cranky or tired – when in reality what they really need could be a hug, a quiet time or something to drink – maybe a glass of water. plus, they might be bored. Try addressing the issue at hand before handing over a snack pack.
Also, children may also confuse their sense of thirst for hunger, but as they grow older, they can start differentiating both.
As their parent, you can also teach them and help them understand their various emotions.
Children are expected to grow taller, not wider. If the case is the latter, it could be as a result of eating too much. When their clothes are becoming tight in the chest, waist or rear, even though the length is fine – then the child is probably overfed.
Always check the weight of your child consistently and see if it’s proportional to their age.
After a meal, if your children say they are still hungry, ask them to wait for 15-20 minutes. While they are waiting, let them help out with house chores like clearing and cleaning the table, doing the dishes etc. If after all these activities they are still hungry, then you can serve them another small portion.
Since children tend to compare themselves with their peers. Children who are overweight or obese could experience low self-esteem as they grow older due to overeating. Low self-esteem, in turn, can lead to sadness, crankiness and nervousness. It’s best to feed your child moderately to avoid all these issues.
Healthy meal plans are recommended for children. Feed your child a variety of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk, cheese and healthy protein like – lean beef, chicken and fish.
Foods rich in fibre and protein will fuel your child’s body and help keep them from getting hungry easily, which can also discourage them from overfeeding. These foods supply the vitamins and minerals your children need for a healthy growth.
Also, keep high-fat and high-calorie foods out of your child’s diet, replace them with healthy snacks that are low in calories. Exercise is also very important, always ensure your child participates in physical activities – that will help improve their overall health and enable them to shed off any excess weight.