Hands-Off Parenting Styles May Lead To Unhealthy Snacking in Children

chips-448734_1280Parenting styles vary from parent to parent based on personal experiences, how parents were raised themselves, and the overall demeanor of their children. For parents who are more “hands-off” and permissive, they children may be putting their hands in the cookie jar (quite literally) more often than those with more strict parenting styles. 

The Research

The 18 month study, conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Michigan, and Temple University’s College of Public Health, found that snacking was an important factor of weight control among children. 

Researchers found that more than 40 percent of children’s intake of added sugars came from snacking. According to researchers, excessive snacking is found more in children with parents who take a hands-off approach to feeding. They may have different parenting styles in other aspect of parenting, but when it comes to feeding their approach is usually uninvolved, with very few demands.

What does this mean?

Snacking is not inherently bad. Actually, it may be better to eat smaller meals (or snacks) throughout the day rather than 2-3 huge meals. It’s when a child’s snack choices go unsupervised that this becomes a problem. Those children whose parents were uninvolved feeders were more at risk for dietary excess (meaning greater risk for weight gain and even obesity).

Getting your child to eat healthy foods throughout the day can be a challenge. The foods most children (and most adults) find appealing are heavily salted and sugary. Food like chips, cookies, and soda can be devoured in excess without us even noticing how much we’re eating. Keeping an eye on your child’s snacking habits (even if it’s a pretty relaxed eye) can avoid any pesky health risks down the line.

Introducing healthier foods in your child’s diet

Many parents resort to “sneaking” healthy foods into their child’s regular foods. One way to get your children to eat healthier is to keep healthy foods around the house and remove all the junk food. Having nutritious foods around the house, like fruits, veggies, hummus, and whole grains, your child will have to eat healthy whether they want to or not. They may even find they like those foods!

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Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for young girls, ages 10-14. Through our clinically intensive program and nourishing environment, your child can be guided to a healthier path.

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