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Eating while watching the mobile and other errors in infant feeding

Children gawking at a mobile phone or tablet while mechanically eating at home or in a restaurant; use food as a reward or punishment; or not leading by example are some of the mistakes that parents make when giving their children a correct food education. October 16 is World Food Day

And the starting point is already wrong if we consider the food of the child as different from that of the adult. The children’s menu should be banished as unhealthy foods prevail, such as fried foods or processed meat, and vegetables and fruits are scarce.

That’s how clear the dietitians-nutritionists Aitor Sánchez and Lucía Martínez say in an interview after publishing “What do I feed him?” (ED.Paidós), a guide to teach healthy eating and behavior habits.

“It would not be necessary for us to be educated in eating healthy if you offer healthy food at home, it would be more effective than repeating that you have to eat healthy. And in school it is useless to have a unit in Biology that talks about healthy eating if it is not practiced later in the school cafeteria, ”says Aitor Sánchez, also a food technologist.

But education begins in the family environment and the mistakes that are made are many and varied.

One of the most frequent is that the child is distracted while eating by watching pictures on the mobile or tablet, both at home and in a restaurant, which prevents them from developing their skills for social interaction or interaction with food.

“Children want to play, move, meet other children … and the solution of the tablet or mobile comes when we want to take them to a context that is not theirs: sit them for two hours at a table surrounded by adults and do not bother us “Considers the author of” My diet is limping “and” My diet is no longer limping. “

“It is a problem of society’s approach – he adds – when resorting to certain tools so that children adjust to social situations that may not be the most appropriate for that moment. These tools can be useful as long as they do not become the protagonists of food and leisure ”.

Do we have to force the child to eat?

An everyday scene at mealtime in any home with young children is dealing with “I don’t like this” or “I’m not hungry.” Should we force them to eat?

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not forcing a child to eat. It is not a corrective ”, explains Lucía Martínez, author of“ Vegans with science ”and“ Vegans with awareness ”.

“In a context like ours, with plenty of food, a child is not going to go hungry and if he is hungry he will let you know,” she points out.

For the dietitian-nutritionist, when a child is forced to eat or is distracted by the TV to put spoonfuls in his mouth, there is a risk of “loading the appetite and satiety mechanism that tells them when they are hungry and when stop”.

And that means, according to Lucía Martínez, that we are opening the door to the risk of unhealthy relationships with food.

If the child is capricious about food, another classic, the expert considers that it is the responsibility of caregivers to have food options at home that are all healthy, so there will be no temptations.

“Let him choose but controlling the offer,” she adds.

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