Sunday, July 31, 2011

Using Food as a Reward: Good or Bad?

Uh-oh...I've used food as a reward (a few hundred times). You too? Studies show that over 80% of families have used food rewards to get their child to eat more.

So what's wrong with this approach?
  1. When we use food as a reward we encourage eating regardless of hunger. Ex...finish your plate and you get dessert.

  2. We place greater value on the reward than on what we want them eat. Ex...chocolate cake appears greater than the vegetables we want them to eat.
Scratch the rewards and bribes and give these tips a try:
  • Pair new foods with liked foods.

  • Don't give make take 10-15 times before your child develops a taste for a healthier food.

  • Try cooking vegetables different ways. Steamed, raw, grilled, sauteed and roasted veggies are all simple and easy ways to cook your vegetables.

  • Serve fruits and vegetables first. Research shows kids eat 45% more when this approach is used.

  • Kids want a say in their food choice. Let them help with dinner and dessert menu planning.

  • Eat together as a family. Kids learn by watching us. What if you're the picky eater? Put on your game face and take a bite. Remember, you're the role model!
Most of us have been conditioned our entire life to use food as a reward. This isn't an easy habit to kick, but the benefits are worth it. Good Luck!

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