There is a strong instinct that frightens us parents when our offspring not pure skin proficient at meals. Sometimes we shoot it beyond the aim and eating becomes a struggle. Here tips for relaxed meals with small children.

We still have it, the feeding instinct

Child refuses food

Photo: ©, Ramona Heim

The small Enes is not hungry. This is not surprising, because the Annual has an acute gastrointestinal flu. Nevertheless, mother and father Thomas Aylin try * to maneuver with all sorts of tricks, a warm meal in her son inside. Because he denied the carrots offered, disguising each spoonful with some chocolate pudding. This little appetizing blend parents are now pushing the little patient under much persuasion in the fed pressed mouth. As observed in the children's clinic in which I shared with my son a few days a room with a small family. should condemn to the still very young couple but not recklessly. There is obviously a strong instinct that it frightens us parents when our offspring not pure skin proficient at meals. This Feeding urge comes probably from a time when food was scarce and it calmed our ancestors, to offer her child enough Erjagtes and Collected. Therefore, most fathers and mothers find it difficult even in our affluent society to remain calm when a rather delicate anyway toddler eats little and with the meal food around pecks like a bird. Above all, of course, if it is quite healthy as opposed to our example. But what is actually "too little"? And how to ensure that your child receives enough nutrients (and please also without stress at the dinner table)?

* Names changed

The little verse from "Spoon for Mama" rather forget

A toddler between one and three years needs about 950 to 1,100 calories daily. "For children you can have the BMI (body mass index) calculated"Silke Restemeyer by the German Society for Nutrition (DGE). Here you get already an indication of whether the child's weight is located for his age in the normal range (info at end of text). If a child has no appetite significantly underweight or over time and maybe THAT CONDITION pale and tired, a visit to the doctor should come first, advises the DGE expert. But even if the child is healthy, according to pediatrician lights in the parental brain stem known fast the red warning light on when a child "Nothing" want to eat. And an ancient text is unwound, which reads: "Help! This child is eating too little, it will be terribly weak and soon starve miserably!", And already we whisper - as generations before us - hurdy-gurdy like the famous verse: "And now a spoonful for Mama" (Optional Baby, for grandmother, grandfather, etc.), which has not become original by centuries of use. We use the initial bonhomie of our children, which can then organize some with them, and urge them some spoon more. However, it does not work for long. At some point, the child refused, and the power struggle ensues about food. Since being blackmailed ("otherwise there is no dessert"), Urged ("only three little fork!"), Exaggerated ("you do not grow if you do not eat") And the compassion Tour tested ("Mom has that extra cooked for you!"). All thoughts and activities at the table revolve from now on only to the "poor eater",

Eating disorders threaten

Without danger of guerrilla warfare at the dinner table is not. For he wears down not only of happy families, but can even risky term late effects: "Excessive pressure and coercion while eating can lead to later eating disorders may"Says Silke Restemeyer. "Of course, eating disorders also have many other causes", Says the expert. Nevertheless, a child who was pushed too much to eat, so for example, during puberty in food intake from its newly acquired self-assertion urge to very refuse (anorexia). Conversely, a child who had to eat always be satiety addition, lose the sense of its natural appetite and become obese over time. "It is e.g. also a warning sign that more and more children in Germany have at a young age about diet experience"So the specialist.

Five golden rules for a relaxed meal

The following tips will help to make return to the dining pleasure and the joy of the family table:

  • tick 1. Understanding how infants

    After one year, little kids want to determine a lot of things themselves. Also, how much they eat. So, the parents decide what is there, but the child, how much will eat it. To tired to make to the meal, you can choose the child's fruit and vegetables with joint purchasing and leave later help it when cooking (vegetables, potatoes cut into small pieces, etc.). That's almost a guarantee that the child would like the result then eat. "Small children like many things not right away, but have to get used to their taste. So you can try again, if the child takes on the particular food but after some time, "advises Silke Restemeyer. So often several iterations are needed until a child comes to the taste. The less Sweet gets a toddler here, the more the sense of taste and the desire to finer and healthier pleasures retained him.

  • 2. Eating together

    At least one common meal in which all sit at the table should be in there for every family. And also for the other meals, a child should never have to eat alone. That the television at table remains goes without saying. "It's about to have a fixed meeting place to have time and talk about the day," said Restemeyer. The child's eating behavior should not be emphasized. Purpose of eating can not be just to feed the child and talk about how much it again (do not) eat today.

  • 3. Small portions dish

    Too full plate discouraged children. Small portions and small bites, as engaging as possible arranged invite you to dig in. Particularly stimulating see colorful vegetables in all colors, from which one example can form patterns or faces. you can still top up, if the child has more appetite. However, it must also remain calm something on the plate back, because food should be something Enjoyable to which no one may be forced.

  • learn 4. Trust: No healthy child suffers from shortage

    As well as my own daughter some time ago a long "I-hab-but-no-hunger"Phase had, I turned for help to the popular pediatrician Dr. Buses, the insecure parents on the Internet, gives in TV and Press comfort and advice. His response to my request got in his forum: "It makes no sense to make so many thoughts!" (Ah so? But I find it ever so difficult to park your thinking when it comes to my children ...). However, he added happily: "No healthy child starved to death before a full plate or suffers deficiency." (!. Aha Now I've been better, because I wanted to read actually) The motto therefore is: pick up the child in his eating behavior where it is, and not impose his own ideas. Confidence in the child so is called for, what we parents Yes in general often have too little.

  • 5. What part of every day at the plate

    But exactly what should because the very least eat a small child between one and three years in the day? "It just eats as much or as little as it may from what it is at meals and gets no extra or spare food"So the pediatrician on. "two servings of milk a day are important in the long run. So maybe a cup of milk plus a yoghurt, some cheese, porridge or pudding per day", But what about the snacks? If you leave out with a bad eater, so the main meals is more appetite there? Here Silke Restemeyer help you: "No, because snacks are very important for children, so that their blood sugar does not drop too much. A milk cuts or other sweets are not meant here!"She warns. Better be fruit, raw vegetables, a serving of plain yogurt or even a sandwich.

Information and addresses

is the BMI (Body Mass Index) calculated from the formula "Weight divided by: height times height", For information: For a one-year child of the BMI should be between about the values ​​of 15 and 18.5. In a three-year-old child, only 14 to 18

The DGE is in their information brochure "optimiX" accurate summary tables for normal weight and BMI accurately for all ages on. There are also detailed tips for proper nutrition of children and young people (FKE) were developed in Dortmund by the Research Institute of Child Nutrition. Seven tips for a good mood also be given at the family table here. Available in the brochure DGE Media Service in Bonn Telephone 0228/90 92 626, e-mail [email protected], Home is

Homepage of the Research Institute of Child Nutrition:

Homepage of the German Nutrition Society (DGE):