When it comes to eating, it can be hard enough to pull the kids away from the TV and the smartphone to have some quality family time at the dinner table. What parent wouldn't be tempted to encourage a kid to be excited about sitting down to enjoy food and family, by sharing food? It seems like the natural thing to do as a family.
Since many nutritionists and physicians champion sharing meals as a family, because of the multitude of healthful benefits that strengthen family bonds, parents don't feel so guilty sharing off of their plate with their child. Most parents look at this as a way to expand their child's tastes.
Mealtime is a great way to lead by example. Parents may definitely want to develop some better eating habits, especially if they love snacking on junk food. It's nobody's fault certain foods were made cheaper, tastier, and more conveniently packaged than others. Even though we may be choosing and eating certain foods for convenience and frugality, we need to be careful.
Despite the wonderful psychological benefits of sharing food, and additionally reinforcing the importance of sharing, there are some hidden dangers. Yes, parents want their child to be well-rounded, and be able to enjoy a variety of different foods. A more diverse palate may indeed be a very cultured and happy one. Also easier to feed.
However, when mom or dad are sharing food with their kids, there are a few things they need to consider, before passing their fork.
Foods like eggs, shellfish, and meat if not prepared carefully, can expose your kid to undesirable bacteria. Especially if certain foods are under cooked, you are more likely to make your kid sick. We are talking really sick, rolling around on the floor with a painful tummy, diarrhea for days, or never-ending vomiting.
Some foods, like steak tartare, simply are not the best things to feed to your kid, no matter how adventurous your family is. Make sure to be aware of food temperature, and that certain foods are cooked well done before offering your kid a spoonful.
There is nothing worse than the stomach flu, cramps, or vomiting to ruin what could have been a great day. This is especially something to consider when on vacation, and medication may not be within easy reach.
Yep, your sharing food off of your plate with your kid can actually lead to picky eating. Your kid will learn the importance of getting you to negotiate their behavior, if you're willing to just part with the food on your plate.
Getting your kid to eat the food on their own plate can be difficult, but is not impossible. It's okay to share now and then, but a younger palate might get accustomed to only eating the food off of your plate. Consider mixing up their food, with a smaller amount of your food, or make sure everyone is eating the exact same thing.
Unfortunately, sometimes a kid will just take a liking to eating only a few things for an extended period of time. If this happens, consult your pediatrician. One good thing, is usually this will just be a passing phase, and they will move on to not being so dang picky.
Just because you are used to eating that piece of fish with the tiny bones inside, doesn't mean that your child is. Especially if you are introducing your child to a type of food, which is hazardous because of small parts, take caution. You figured once they passed the age of 2 or 3, putting small choking hazards like buttons or tiny cars was over.
Wrong! You're food decided to become the newest sneaky culprit.
Definitely consider learning CPR, alongside other general First Aid measures, just in case. Seek to avoid food with bones that may easily choke a smaller child. Choose to cut up foods into small manageable pieces. Also, make sure to watch your portion sizes, as an adult-sized spoonful may be too much for a younger child. Sometimes, excited kids enjoy eating way too much at once, too.
Botulism is a real thing, and it can cause some severe cases of vomiting, especially in your child. If you enjoy eating foods that are pickled, come out of an oil-packed can, or are chocked full of preservatives, vomiting might happen.
Aside from having a mess to clean up, you might actually put your child off of certain foods, if they vomit after eating them. Vomiting also might happen if your child overeats, or is having an allergic reaction to the food they just consumed. Choose your foods with caution, unless you want to see your kid blowing chunks or spewing pea-soup colored material from their mouth. This wasn't the redecoration ideas you had in mind, while your poor sick child ends up vomiting all over your walls and floors.
If you were in scouting, you know that you should always be prepared. Hopefully, you made sure to stock up on some calamine lotion or aloe vera, in case of bug bites or a rash. Unfortunately, your favorite food, might make your kid break out into hives.
It's funny how nothing like breaking out into a series of itchy red splotches and bumps all over, will make a kid think twice before eating off of your plate again. Believe it or not, sometimes the spices used for preparing certain dishes, and not the main food item itself, can actually cause your kid to break out.
Make sure to get those allergy tests in, or keep notes on what was served for dinner, when your kid started turning red and itchy.
Sugar is one of those very addictive substances, that most human beings are hardwired to fall for. If your kid has a developing or developed sweet-tooth, you might want to be more wary of sharing your dessert off of your plate.
If your child is a picky eater, or has been snubbing most of your other food choices, you might be elated that they are eating something. However, letting your kid enjoy way too many cakes, cookies, and puddings may lead to the later onset of diabetes.
You figured getting pricked at the doctor's office was scary, imagine letting your kid know that they have to prick their finger daily, because you didn't teach self-control and moderation.
Stop passing the cookie jar all the time, just to get them to shush. Kids need to eat their veggies too!
Eating in front of the television, can actually lead to eating more than is needed. Watching portion sizes, and only choosing to eat until somewhat full is best. When we get excited that our kids are enjoying the new food they got to try off our plate, we might give in to letting them eat as much as they want.
No one wants a super skinny kid, or we fear that we aren't feeding our kids enough, as a sign of healthiness. However, letting your kids eat with abandon, and not controlling their portion sizes can lead to serious problems. If your diet consists of a lot of heavy fat-laden fried foods, for instance, indulging in tons of it, can pack the pounds on your kid.
Let your kid enjoy eating their fill, but don't push overeating, especially when it comes to foods and portion sizes that can lead to being severely overweight. The health issues, just are not worth it.
If you are a parent on the go, or on a budget, you might be lured in to get fast food all the time. You want to please your kid, and be the cool parent, but in the long run, you are becoming their full-time fast food pusher.
Addiction to fast food, can be akin to addiction to drugs. The sugar, salt, fat, and preservatives neatly packaged in attractive wrappers, and conveniently low-priced to be readily available at fast food restaurants will ruin your kid and family. When you are out for a walk or in the car, or even watching TV, your kid will be reminded of their need, not want, to consume fast food.
Sharing fast food too often, will definitely send a long-term signal that may be hard to break. No one says they want their kid to grow up to have a fast food habit. Heart disease, obesity, and diabetes just aren't cute.
You thought that kids would only start the begging at the candy aisle or toy aisle in stores. Who knew this could happen at dinner time, too? Well, beware how you introduce your child to eating the food off of your plate. You could end up with a beggar in no time.
This almost falls along the lines of the picky eater, and can be similar to the fast food addict. If a child is accustomed to only eating the food off of your plate, or thinks that your food is somehow different and better, because of difference in portion size or item, look out!
Make sure your kid uses manners when asking for you to share your food, and learns how to be let down easy, without being in a sour mood. Otherwise, you might end up with a kid who starts begging even louder and more aggressively.
Parents, if you are on a super specific diet, say Paleo, or carb-free, sharing your diet with your kid may put them at a disadvantage. As your kid is growing, and not yet an adult, there are certain nutrients and vitamins that your kid will need to consume.
There is nothing wrong with sharing occasionally. Be aware, if your kids are not getting the food they need, in order to maintain healthy weight, strong bones, and support their brain, they might develop deficiencies. A kid is going to need different amounts of vitamins like B-6, B-12, calcium, iron, folic acid, and potassium than a grown adult.
Be mindful about the foods you eat in front of your child, and making sure they get the nutrition and calorie amounts for their optimal growth and development.
Running to the toilet because of bubbly guts is never fun. Imagine your poor kid going through it, just because they had some of the food you were so happy to share with them. Since your kid is still developing their tolerance for certain foods, you want to be aware there is a risk of possible diarrhea.
This is a greater possibility with foods that are not handled properly, raw foods that might carry E.coli, or foods from cans or jars. Make sure to wash knives and cutting boards, in addition to being mindful about temperature control and serving time.
Keep some medicine or yogurt available for you and your little one, in the event of runny bowels with no intent on stopping. Sometimes a teaspoon of baking soda stirred into a cup of lukewarm water, can help settle a very upset tummy. Whether it is an allergic reaction, just disagrees with the body, or was under cooked, your shared food can make your kid sick. Be prepared. You already managed to battle super poop-filled diapers, so this should be a piece of cake.
You thought only you or your spouse were capable of silent-but-deadly flatulence. Don't be surprised if your kid can out do you and dad both! Sometimes the gas developed after eating some of your food, can actually prove pretty painful for a kid.
Stock up on the antacids or some natural homeopathic medicine to help alleviate your kid's gas. Certain foods, like those containing a lot of dairy, or cooked with a lot of fat or grease might make your kid more gassy, than others. It is good to keep a food diary, and keep the portions of certain foods lower, when letting your kid try something off of your plate.
Who knew that a meal could possibly blow you away, or create some fantastic music, compliments of really bad gas?
There is something magical to kids, about getting to eat the food off of their parent's plate. Maybe because kids don't have to cook just yet, and there is so much love put in their parent's food, it just makes it that much more yummy. In an effort to please mom and dad, and their tummies, kids may be more prone to overeat, eating from off of their parent's plate.
A lot of parents take pride in making sure their kids eat enough. No one wants their kid to be hungry, or teased for being overweight. However, there is a risk, especially with portion control, and the type of food offered, to make kids overeat. Sometimes, it is just because the food offered is just really super delicious.
If mom or dad can't bear to say no to their child, when they are asking for their fourth helping, they may be in store for more than just a kid with a tummy ache.
There are certain foods that might just give your kid the shivers, and not because it tastes worse than it looks or smells. I'm talking about having night terrors, following digesting some food from mom or dad. Before you freely pass your fork over to your kid, so they can have some of what you are digging into, consider what you are eating.
Some foods are more suitable for an adult, and the stomach of a kid will not be able to tolerate it the same way.
Spicy meals, such as one full of chili peppers, garlic, and other condiments might make your kid have sweats, heartburn, and nightmares. You may want to keep some milk and cookies around, not because Santa has arrived, but to make your kid feel better. Milk is a definite good item to offer, to help coat the stomach and ease any pain from whatever they ate last night.
If you are constantly offering your kid tons of carbohydrates and dairy, you may end up having to break out the stool softener. Constipation is not just an adult problem, as kids who only eat the yummy foods can experience it as well. Foods that are lacking in water content, and low in fiber will lead to an impacted tummy and digestive system.
Making sure your kids get enough clean water, eat fiber-rich food, and have some fruits and veggies occasionally can get things moving. If you are continually allowing your kid to shovel in the pasta, potatoes, and tons of cheese, they might end up feeling more lethargic, and avoiding the toilet.
Convenient and tasty foods are great, because they can bring you and your kid closer together, and make eating fun. However, always giving in to bad habits, will make your kid develop bad habits and health problems.
Sources: EatRight.org, KidsHealth.org, Healthline.com, ScienceDaily.com