If you want to make sweet, high-calorie foods the stuff that cravings are made of, just forbid your child to eat them. “In this house we only eat healthy food.”
Great, so the kid learns, “all I need to do is get out this house where they can’t see me and then I can eat the good stuff.”
Fat kids need and deserve dessert too. I’m using the word “fat” and if it offends you, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to use a different word. I was the fat kid, in my family of 4 children and although the word was studiously avoided around me, all the euphemisms weren’t lost on me. I knew what they were really saying.
So, yes, the fat kids need and deserve dessert too. This is especially true if there is only one child who’s fat in a family with two or more kids. What problem are you solving by giving ice cream cones to the two slender children and apple to the husky kid? Trick question – you’re not solving a problem, you just think you are.
Ellyn Satter, MS, RDN, MSSW is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family Therapist. She’s an internationally recognized authority on children’s eating and feeding methods. Satter emphasizes competency and trust rather than control and deprivation when it comes to helping kids eat right.
Food discrimination based on a child’s body weight makes problems
- The fat kid gets punished unfairly
- Reinforcing any mean treatment he’s getting from his peers and/or bullies
- Pushing the kid into closet eating and other eating disorders
- Putting the kid on a path to low self-esteem that can negatively affect all aspects of his life.
- Help to create a lifelong struggle with obesity
The statistics and research reinforce the mistakes well-meaning parents make when trying to help an overweight child by treating him differently. If you want to have a positive influence make an effort to instill healthy habits in everybody in the household.
- Prepare and serve nutritious food keeping family food preferences in mind.
- Allow each member of the household to serve themselves.
- Don’t enforce a “clean plate” rule.
- Do enforce an “eat at the table only” rule
- Encourage active play
- Assign household chores to all members of the family
If everybody else is eating dessert, give it to the overweight child too.