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How Erwan Heussaff Feeds Dahlia Without Resorting To Kid Food
PHOTO BY Instagram/Erwan
  • One of the most common misconceptions about feeding kids is meals need to be made for them — chicken nuggets for the children and steak for the parents. The truth is it isn’t the type of dish that matters, but what’s in it.

    Just as adults need a variety of nutrients, children require their fill of carbohydrates for brain power and energy, protein for building muscle, healthy fats to aid in brain and body development, and fruits and vegetables for added nutrients and fiber, too.

    How Erwan Heussaff feeds Dahlia Amelie without resorting to 'kid food' 

    Whether a child looks for a burger or not is a learned behavior. Food-lover and dad Erwan Heussaff makes sure his daughter Dahlia gets exposed to a wide variety of flavors and textures by feeding her the same food that mom and dad eat but with certain restrictions due to her age.

    Here Erwan answers what he sees as healthy food for kids when it comes to his daughter. 

    Were there any changes/adjustments you had to make to your own eating habits or mealtime for Dahlia?

    Erwan: We basically just started making our own food without salt and sugar — that way, I don’t have to cook two versions of one dish. I would just salt my food after cooking it. That’s actually a really good habit for me because I can really see how much I’m adding.

    The second great thing is it regulated my eating. Dahlia eats on a schedule. As adults, we eat when we are hungry or find the time for a quick meal. We all know that consistency, timing, and routine are really important when it comes to food. So feeding her has actually benefited the whole family greatly.

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    How does she react to seeing that she’s eating the same food as Mum and Dad?

    Erwan: She loves it! I found that she eats better when she sees how the food is being made, so I usually bring her to the kitchen with me. Then, all her senses are activated. She can smell things as they cook, hear the sounds of the knives and the pans on the stove. I think it just tells her that her food is coming, and as she gets older, she points at ingredients and gets excited.

    When we sit down for the meal, she looks at what we are eating and sometimes points at what is on our plate if she doesn’t have it. So it helps when our plates are the same so that she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out.

    How to raise a child with healthy eating habits

    When it comes to ensuring children grow up to have healthy eating habits, here are recommendations from Erwan and health and fitness app REBEL’s registered nutritionist and dietician Jo Sebastian:

    Involve children in mealtime and its preparations

    Allow children to be a part of the grocery shopping and cooking process to learn to be independent around food. It can give them more incentive to eat the meals because they helped prepare them. It helps make them more accepting of trying new things too! Doing so can also let them be more involved in eating, as they become more focused on the meal rather than other distractions.

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    Making mealtime a time for the family to sit down and enjoy a meal together promotes mindful eating. It is also the time to show the importance of bonding over food, which is very much valued in Filipino culture.

    Allow consumption of fun food in moderation

    When children are told they cannot have sweets or the like, they will only want these kinds of food more. So make fun food like sweets and chicken nuggets as part of the menu, rather than special occasion food or a treat for doing something good. This prevents children from classifying food as ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ and eliminates overeating and bingeing when they are allowed to indulge in fun snacks and treats.

    It’s about moderation and never deprivation! That said, while children need food to grow, it pays to be mindful about overeating. Should they lean towards the heavier side, it’s not advisable to reduce their intake, nor should negative things be said about their bodies and what they eat.

    Instead, help them increase their fruit and veggie intake, prioritize fresh food and homemade snacks, and lessen added sugars. It also helps to encourage joyful movement, whether it be through simple household chores or even easy-to-follow exercises alongside family members.

    Eat healthily, and your kids will follow

    Children follow what they see. Simply being a role model for eating well and healthily does wonders for a child’s mindset towards food. Having a positive attitude towards food and eating leads kids to feel the same way, too. This isn’t just limited to the food you eat but also includes the time and habits you follow.

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    This doesn’t mean eating at noon exactly, but rather within a specific timeframe in the day, so children (and you!) don’t miss an opportunity for nourishment.

    Check out the ‘Eats’ section of the REBEL app for fun and healthy food the whole family will love. From meals that are quick and easy to prepare (even with your kids!) to those filled with flavor yet can still cater to your fitness goals, you know where to go.

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