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Whether you buy vegan organic chocolate or your local supermarket variety, it can be tricky to manage the onslaught of chocolate this Easter.
There are many styles in handling this scenario with kids and some better than others, which ones, might surprise you.
How to deal with the onslaught of chocolate this Easter with kids
1. Let them eat it till they feel sick in the stomach
It might surprise you, but this option isn’t such a bad choice. As a Nutritionist, moderation is my flavour, but helping our children experience and feel situations, even as benign as eating chocolate, is important in them understanding their own bodies and that we as parents respect their choices.
The idea is to use this sickly opportunity to talk about what has happened and how it made them feel. No guilt or judgement. A black and white chat.
“How do you feel?” as they lie on the couch in a feotal position.
“I feel sick in my tummy.”
“What do you think caused that?”
“Ummmmm, maybe the chocolate?”
“How much did you eat just now?”
“15 Crème eggs.” No reaction, it is important to not react, as that is the emotional connection between food and eating too much that is not helpful.
“So, what do you think you will do differently next time?”
“Eat only 2.”
“I think that is a good idea. When we eat food, it helps us in so many ways. Our body does give us clues, so we need to listen to them, as if we do, we know when is the right time to stop.”
The whole point of this option is taking the opportunity for your child to be reminded that their body does let them know, they just need to mindful of its responses and listen and trust what their body is telling them.
2. Parental portioning it out over a two-week period
Although this is an option in mindful eating the mindfulness is not directed by the child. They don’t really learn much from it, except that their parents control what they eat. The child does learn to savour their bounty over a longer period of time, but they don’t get to choose when they feel like eating it.
Eating food, including foods like chocolate and other “sometimes” foods, is a learning process of understanding that we don’t need them everyday but if we do feel like some every now and then, then that’s ok.
3. Letting the child decide what will be eaten when
This is one of my favourite options with an asterisk. After the bounty is collected, pop it in a special box or bag of some sort. As a parent, each day you can bring it out and ask them to choose what they might like to eat that day.
You might be surprised by how little they choose or even some days they don’t feel like any at all.
Sure, they might choose to eat five in one sitting, but this then lends to a conversation similar to point 1.
4. Letting them have one and throwing the rest out
Of course, this means your child will only eat one chocolate, will not have an explosion of sugar induced psychosis, or better yet, not throw up on your carpet after the onslaught of chocolate this Easter. It also means they develop a negative relationship with chocolate and you.
The only learnings here are:
- My parent dictates what I eat, I don’t have a choice
- We throw away food
- When people give you gifts, it is ok to throw them out
- Chocolate is evil
- Chocolate is evil and if I eat it, my parent will be angry at me
These aren’t great messages to be sending.
Food nourishes our body and it is also entwined with tradition and happy occasions. With children, as early as when they start eating solids, they are learning how to eat. Every eating opportunity contributes to developing their own unique relationship with food. We want that to be a positive one as we often know how difficult it can be to change the psychology of how we eat when we are older.
You could always consider providing a smaller quantity of chocolate, and supplementing it with some other gorgeous Easter goodies – scroll down for some fun ideas!
Mandy is the Founder of Little People Nutrition as well as being a mum to 3 little peeps of her own. As a university qualified nutritionist and food scientist she is passionate about children developing a positive relationship with food. Mandy has written a book called ‘At My Family Table‘ to start a conversation between parents/carers and children about food, family and the world. She believes that a great way to build a positive relationship with food is to share a meal together. Food is nutrition and health, but so much more!
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