Foods to avoid while trying for a baby
5 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Get Pregnant
Fertility is complex. Numerous factors can play a role in an individual or couple’s ability to conceive.
One of the things I wondered about before I had children was how much of a role nutrition played in fertility and whether eating (or avoiding) certain foods should be a part of my preparation.
As it turns out, good nutrition is key for fertility.
In recent years, scientists have conducted more research on dietary patterns and specific foods that potential parents should consider adding to or removing from their lifestyle for the best odds at conception (1, 2, 3, 4).
Infertility affects approximately 10–15% of couples. While the focus of fertility is often on the person who will be getting pregnant, it’s equally important for the supporting partner to adopt habits that support fertility.
In fact, infertility among couples is attributed to the male partner approximately 50% of the time, primarily due to low spermatogenesis, or a lack of production of healthy sperm (5, 6).
This article examines 5 foods to minimize in your diet when if you’re trying to become pregnant, as well as other lifestyle tips for supporting fertility.
Current research suggests that a high consumption of red and processed meats, such as beef, bacon, hot dogs, and sausage, are likely dietary contributors to infertility for people of all genders (2, 7).
One study found that men who consumed large amounts of processed meat had lower sperm quality, count, and motility compared with those of men who consumed fish instead (8).
Another study examined the health information of 141 males undergoing in vitro fertilization with their female partners, specifically a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which fertility specialists sometimes use when male fertility is an issue (9).
The study found a link between frequent intake of processed meat and lower egg fertilization among the men.
Those who ate fewer than 1.5 servings of processed meats per week had a 28% better chance of achieving pregnancy compared with men who ate 4. 3 servings per week.
However, men who ate the most poultry had 13% higher fertilization rates than men who ate the lowest amount of poultry (9).
Red and processed meats can also be high in trans fats and saturated fats, which are associated with lower fertility (7).
Other research suggests that a high intake of animal protein overall may also be associated with worsened fertility outcomes.
One study found that women who met high “fertility diet” scores, which included more vegetable protein than animal protein, had lower rates of infertility due to ovulation disorders (10, 11).
Consider replacing red and processed meats with plant-based protein alternatives, like:
Red and processed meats, as well as an overall high intake of animal protein, may be associated with reduced fertility among men and women. Replacing some of these with plant-based proteins may benefit fertility.
Some studies associate diets high in ultra-processed carbs — including foods with a high glycemic index (GI) — with moderately reduced fertility in some people. This link appears stronger when the diet is also low in fiber and high in added sugar (10, 12).
If a food has a high GI, that means it triggers a more significant spike in your blood sugar after you eat it, compared with foods that have a lower GI.
Some examples of high GI foods include white breads and pastas, as well as white crackers, desserts, baked goods, and other more processed packaged snack foods.
Keep in mind that having a high GI isn’t automatically a fertility-reducing property on its own. The low fiber, high added sugar nature of these foods is more likely to negatively affect fertility (13, 14).
One review found that replacing high GI foods with lower GI foods may help improve female fertility. These lower GI foods included whole grains and certain vegetables that are common in a Mediterranean diet (11, 15).
Again, it’s likely the combination of a low GI diet with increased fiber and reduced added sugar intake that offers benefits. In some studies, eating a high fiber diet has been shown to have a protective effect against ovulatory infertility among women.
Fiber is especially high in foods like:
- whole fruits and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- whole grains, such as 100% whole wheat breads and pastas
On the other hand, some studies suggest that a very high fiber diet reduces estrogen levels and increases the risk of the absence of ovulation (16, 17).
If you eat a low fiber diet, consider replacing white breads and pastas with whole grain versions. For instance, incorporate grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, oats, and barley in place of white rice in some dishes, and use 100% whole wheat bread in place of white bread.
Eating white breads and pastas, ultra-processed carbs, and other low fiber processed foods may be associated with reduced fertility among some people. Try adding more whole grains and higher fiber foods to your lifestyle if you don’t already eat them.
Baked goods like pastries, donuts, and cakes, particularly ones that are fried or contain margarine, may be high in trans fats and saturated fats. Consuming these types of fats is associated with poorer fertility outcomes (18, 19, 20).
Manufacturers produce trans fats when they partially hydrogenating vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature.
While trans fats are officially banned from the food system as of January 2021, foods that contain fewer than 0.5 grams per serving can still be labeled as free of trans fats (21, 22).
Diets high in trans fats and low in unsaturated fats have been linked to a higher risk of fertility problems. This is particularly true for diets that get more than 1% of their overall calories from trans fats (1, 7, 23).
Research has also found that choosing trans fats over healthier carb-containing foods is associated with a 73% higher risk of ovulatory disorders, which can cause infertility (23).
Overall, diets that emphasize monounsaturated fats over trans fats are associated with better fertility outcomes (11).
Sources of monounsaturated fats include:
- olive oil
Baked goods and other fried and highly processed sweets may contain trace amounts of trans fats, a high intake of which is associated with poorer fertility. Consider choosing healthier carbs and sources of monounsaturated fat instead.
One study among 3,828 females ages 21–45 and 1,045 of their male partners who were planning pregnancy analyzed the fertility effects of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages over periods of up to 12 menstrual cycles (24).
The researchers found that males and females who regularly consumed sugar-sweetened beverages, which was defined as consuming at least 7 drinks per week, had reduced fertility (24).
Sugar-sweetened sodas and energy drinks had the worst effect, compared with diet sodas and fruit juice, which didn’t have a significant association with fertility (24).
Another study found that a higher consumption of sugary beverages was associated with a lower total number of mature and fertilized eggs, as well as top quality embryos, among women.
This was independent of the caffeine content and appeared to be more negatively associated with fertility than caffeinated beverages without added sugar (25).
A 2012 study compared the effects of caffeinated beverages and soda intake on time to planned pregnancy among 3,628 women in Denmark (26).
The authors found that caffeine intake, whether measured as at least 300 mg of caffeine or 3 servings of coffee per day, had little effect on fertility (26).
However, soda consumption was associated with reduced fertility (26).
Instead of sugary sodas, try seltzer water or regular water naturally flavored with lemon slices or berries.
A high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, especially soda, is linked to reduced fertility. Try unsweetened seltzer or plain water instead.
The fat content of dairy products appears to have sex-specific fertility effects.
While low fat and skim dairy products may support fertility among men, full fat dairy is associated with the opposite effect. A high overall consumption of dairy products, such as cheese and milk, has been associated with lower semen quality in some studies (2, 3).
However, some research shows that while low fat dairy may be best for supporting male fertility, whole milk may be associated with improved female fertility.
One 2007 study found that high fat dairy products were associated with a reduced risk of infertility due to lack of ovulation, whereas low fat dairy products were associated with an increased risk (10, 11, 27).
Women who ate full fat dairy products at least once per day had a 25% lower risk of fertility from ovulatory disorders, compared with women who ate these foods less frequently, at around once per week (27).
Additionally, women who ate more than two servings of low fat dairy per day were 85% more likely to experience infertility due to lack of ovulation, compared with those who ate low fat dairy only once a week (27).
More research is needed on the effects of dairy consumption and fertility, but current observational research suggests that some full fat dairy may benefit female fertility, while low fat dairy or no dairy, may be better for male fertility.
Alternatively, you could go dairy-free and incorporate a variety of plant-based milk, cheese, and dairy options that have varying amounts of fat.
Full fat dairy may benefit female fertility, while low fat or no dairy may be better than full fat for male fertility. More research is needed on the sex-specific fertility effects of dairy products.
In addition to your diet, other factors may be involved in your fertility outcomes. A general rule of thumb is that habits known to support your overall health are also a good idea when it comes to fertility.
Here are some additional ways to help support your fertility.
Get enough sleep
Animal studies have found that sleep disruption leads to reduced testosterone levels and sperm quality and motility, inhibits melatonin production, and increases circulating stress hormones, which may impair fertility among both men and women (28, 29, 30).
Manage your stress
One review found that women with infertility tend to report mental stress more often than those without fertility issues, and that this association may be a detrimental cycle among women who are trying to become pregnant.
Stress can trigger changes in the brain that can inhibit reproductive function (31, 32).
Get physically active
Studies have found that men who exercise at least three times per week for a minimum of 1 hour have the best sperm health parameters (33).
Regular exercise can also help prevent you from developing overweight or obesity, which are known to work against fertility (33, 34, 35, 36).
However, too much exercise can have the opposite effect (33, 34, 35, 36).
Take a prenatal vitamin
Getting enough folic acid is essential for a healthy pregnancy and helps reduce the risk of birth defects. A daily multivitamin may even increase the odds of conception among women.
A daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid is generally a good idea to include in your preconception routine, but it’s always best to speak with a healthcare professional before you start taking one (7, 37).
Don’t smoke or drink alcohol
Research suggests that smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, and engaging in recreational drug use may make it more difficult to become pregnant (38, 39, 40, 41).
One study found that drinking more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week was associated with a longer time to conceive (41).
In addition to a healthy diet, lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep, not smoking, taking a prenatal multivitamin, managing your stress levels, and engaging in moderate physical activity may support fertility.
Infertility affects many people, and multiple factors are likely at play. Research shows that diet has a significant role in fertility among both men and women.
Evidence suggests that avoiding red and processed meats, ultra-processed carbs, sugary beverages, and certain dairy products may be beneficial for reproductive health.
It’s also a good idea to practice lifestyle habits that benefit your overall health. Practices like getting good quality sleep, exercising, not smoking, and managing stress may also support fertility.
Just one thing
Try this today: Replace red or processed meats in an upcoming meal with a plant-based protein alternative.
Some of my favorite ways to do this include using lentils or beans to make veggie burgers, incorporating strips of seitan in stir-fries, and marinating cubed tofu to make roasted veggie kebobs.
9 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Get Pregnant
Eating right isn't always easy—especially when you're pregnant and looking at a whole new set of nutrition rules. But even if you're just starting to think about conceiving, some dietary changes are in order.
Part of it is eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains—foods that are always good for you—but more critical are the foods you should be avoiding when you're trying to get pregnant. Artificial ingredients, synthetic hormones, and potential contaminants could make conception less likely and may even be harmful to a potential fetus.
We should say: Don't freak out if you've eaten any of these things recently—they are not likely cause much harm in moderation. But if you want to be safe, your best bet is to keep these foods to a minimum when you're trying to get pregnant, and keep them mostly off the list once you get a positive test.
1. High-mercury fish
Mercury can damage the nervous system, which means that consuming mercury-rich seafood like swordfish and tuna while pregnant could directly harm the fetus, says Kendra Tolbert, R.D. (The FDA recently updated its guidelines about safe and unsafe choices; see them here.) Eating high-mercury fish before you're pregnant could build up stores of mercury in your body, which could also affect the development of the baby's nervous system. "The fetal nervous system is being formed before most women even know they are pregnant," explains registered dietitian Suzanne Fisher. Mercury may also decrease fertility.
A few studies have also linked soda—both diet and regular—to lower fertility. "We think it’s a combination of the inflammation and metabolic changes caused by too much blood-sugar-spiking sweeteners and gut-bacteria-changing artificial sweeteners," says Tolbert. Plus, many soft drinks come in containers that have BPA and other chemicals you might want to avoid.
3. Trans fats
Trans fats, which are found in foods like certain chips or microwave popcorns, baked goods made with shortening, and fried foods, can cause inflammation and insulin resistance, which lowers fertility, says Tolbert. And in excess they can damage your blood vessels, disrupting the flow of nutrients to the reproductive system. Men should also go easy on trans fats while the couple is trying to conceive because they decrease sperm count and quality.
4. High-glycemic-index foods
If you want to increase your fertility, avoid foods that make your blood sugar spike, especially if you're not pairing them with foods that slow down that rise. "Blood sugar spikes can cause inflammation, alter our hormones, and impede ovulation," says Tolbert. Try to choose slow-burning carbs, such as whole-wheat bread and pasta or brown rice, over refined ones when possible, and combine them with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
5. Low-fat dairy
Low-fat milk, yogurt, and other dairy products may contain androgens, male hormones that get left in when fat is removed, says Tolbert. These foods and drinks may spur your body to produce androgens, which can interfere with your menstrual cycle.
6. Excess alcohol
The CDC recommends that women who could get pregnant avoid alcohol entirely (not exactly realistic), but if you're going to drink, Tolbert suggests capping it at seven drinks per week. Alcohol, like mercury, can contribute to infertility, and it depletes your body of vitamin B, which improves your chances of pregnancy and supports a fetus' growth.
7. Unpasteurized soft cheeses
Cheeses like Brie, Roquefort, Camembert, and Gorgonzola have a higher risk of containing listeria, which can increase your risk for miscarriage, says Fisher.
8. Deli meat
Processed meat like lunch meat and hot dogs, as well as smoked fish, are also vulnerable to listeria contamination. If you want to eat deli meat, Fisher recommends heating it up until it's steaming to kill bacteria.
9. Raw animal products
Raw meat, seafood, and eggs might contain salmonella, coliform bacteria, or toxoplasmosis, which can infect a fetus if it passes through the placenta, says Fisher. Make sure to cook all animal products thoroughly, and skip sushi, carpaccios, and the like.
🎖▷ Why you don't have to worry about weight gain with Lamictal
4,371 2 minutes read
If you're worried that taking Lamictal (lamotrigine) might cause weight gain, there's good news. It probably won't affect your weight much. If anything, you're more likely to lose weight due to Lamictal than gain weight, but either way, the changes are likely to be pretty small.
The effect of Lamictal on weight has been little studied and various clinical trials have found minimal effect. In fact, some researchers even considered the drug as a possible remedy for obesity and as a remedy for overeating. This information should be reassuring for people with bipolar disorder, as many of the medications used to treat this condition can cause weight gain.
Lamictal findings and weight gain or loss
Lamictal is an anticonvulsant that can be used to treat seizures such as epilepsy. It is also used as a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder.
In the first clinical trials with the drug, 5 percent of adults with epilepsy lost weight while taking Lamictal, while 1 to 5 percent of patients with bipolar I disorder gained weight while taking the drug. The researchers do not disclose how much weight patients have gained or lost.
Meanwhile, a 2006 study comparing the effects on weight of Lamictal, lithium, and placebo found that some Lamictal-treated patients gained weight, some lost weight, and most remained about the same weight. Weight changes are usually not many pounds anyway. Obese patients taking Lamictal lost an average of four pounds, while the weight of non-obese patients remained virtually unchanged.
Relationship between weight gain and other bipolar drugs
Weight gain from medications used to treat bipolar disorder is unfortunately quite common. Some mood stabilizers commonly used for bipolar disorder, especially lithium and Depakote (valproate), carry a high risk of weight gain.
In addition, the atypical antipsychotics Clozaril (clozapine) and Zyprexa (olanzapine) tend to cause significant weight gain in people who take them. Finally, some antidepressants, notably Paxil (paroxetine) and Remeron (mirtazapine), have been associated with weight gain.
Therefore, if you are already overweight, you and your psychiatrist may want to consider additional weight gain when determining your bipolar medication regimen. Based on this, Lamictal may be a good choice.
Lamictal as a possible treatment for obesity
Lamictal has also been studied as a possible treatment for obesity in people without epilepsy or bipolar disorder.
In a small clinical study of 40 people conducted in 2006, researchers randomly assigned participants to receive either lamiktal or placebo for up to 26 weeks. Each participant in the study had a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40, placing them in the obese group to the level of severe obesity. Those who took Lamictal lost an average of just over 10 pounds. Those who took the placebo lost about 7 pounds in the meantime, so while those who took Lamictal lost more weight, they didn't lose all that much more.
Another study in 2009 looked at Lamictal as a remedy for overeating. This study involved 51 people with the condition that 26 of them received Lamictal, and 25 - placebo.
Those who took Lamictal lost more weight than those who took placebo (about 2.5 pounds vs. about one third of a pound) and did have significant improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol lab test results. However, Lamictal did not appear to affect other aspects of the eating disorder when compared to placebo.
But often this desire only leads to additional problems. We talked with children's nutritionist and author of books Alexandra Sitnova about when it's not worth worrying about a child's nutrition, how to help him diversify his diet, and much more.
What to tell you about
- What to do if the child eats almost nothing
- How to make sure that the child eats enough
- Is it worth persuading the child to eat
- Are there foods that should not be given to children at all
- What should be on a child's menu
- At what age can sweets be given to children
- What to do if a child prefers sweets to healthy food healthier
- What processed foods can be included in the diet
- Do's and don'ts to tell your child about food
- How to suspect an eating disorder in a child
- Which doctor should I go to if parents suspect a child has eating disorders
- What problems should I contact a pediatric nutritionist
What should I do if my child eats almost nothing?
When I hear that children do not eat anything, I immediately want to look at them and their food diary. Often they eat normally, they just don't want to eat what they should according to their parents, grandmothers, the local doctor.
Recently I had just such a case at a consultation - a child who, according to his parents, did not eat anything. But in fact, his daily diet included three chicken drumsticks, a lot of dairy products, and various fruits. He just refused soup, so his parents were worried.
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Another case is complaints that the child does not eat anything, drinks only milk. We look at the food diary, and every day he eats 30 different foods. Yes, he loves milk and asks for it at every meal, but he also eats enough other food.
When a child seems to eat almost nothing, you need to look at what he actually eats. When children do refuse to eat, they tend to have health problems, such children often end up in the hospital with signs of malnutrition. These are rare situations that are usually associated with some kind of disease.
How can you make sure your child is eating enough? Are there food standards?
All children should eat according to their appetite. The appetite of each child will be different, it depends on a huge number of factors - for example, weight, height, physical activity and temperature around.
You cannot compare two children even of the same age in terms of appetite and assign them the same food ration. The amount of food eaten by children of the same age and gender can vary by 50%. Here you can’t focus on grams or calories, only on the child’s appetite and his physical development.
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If a child develops well, he is active, alert, not sleepy, his weight and height do not differ much from age norms, then he eats enough.
If the child does not have confirmed vitamin and mineral deficiencies with clinical symptoms, then he also eats enough. It is important to say that blood tests for vitamins and minerals are often taken without indications, and then deviations in these tests are treated. You should not do this if the child does not have any symptoms.
Understanding if a child is eating normally - NHS
To understand if a child is eating too much, you also need to look at his development. Some children may have weight and height above the norm and not be obese, that is, they have a normal body mass index, for example, they are more active than their peers.
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Is it worth persuading a child to eat?
You can try to persuade the child to eat. But this is usually a bad strategy, because children, like adults, know how to feel hunger and satiety.
It is enough to remember yourself in childhood. Almost everyone had an adult who tried to persuade them to eat: look, what a delicious salad, what potatoes I stewed, why don’t you eat cake, I tried so hard.
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It is easy to remember what emotions arose: rejection, shame, discomfort, awkwardness. We were uncomfortable with what we had to eat. Our children experience the same thing, so persuasion tactics are not effective. It may work a couple of times, but in the long run, persuasion only reduces the child's desire to eat.
The best thing to do is to give the child food and do nothing else to participate in his meal unless he asks for help.
Are there foods that should not be given to children at all?
Alcohol is perhaps the only absolutely harmful product that should not be given to children under any circumstances.
For other products, there may be an age until which they should not be given. For example, honey is not allowed for children under one year old, because there is a risk of botulism. For older children and adults, there is no such danger - the spores of the bacterium that causes botulism cannot survive in the acidic environment of the stomach.
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Thermally unprocessed meat, eggs, fish are not given to children under five years of age, as the risk of intestinal infections is high. The same goes for unpasteurized milk and moldy cheeses.
Foods not to be given to young children - NHS
Whole nuts are not given to children under four due to the risk of suffocation.
All this applies to many other products that are not given to children under a certain age, because there are health risks. Most food restrictions end when a child reaches four or five years of age.
What should be on the child's menu?
The optimal menu for a child includes:
- Five to six servings of vegetables and fruits.
- Five to six servings of cereals - this is cereal, and bread, and crispbread, and cereal, and pastries.
- Two to three servings of animal or vegetable protein.
- Two or three portions of dairy products: milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir.
Children's Healthy Plate - Harvard Public School Health
One serving is one baby's fist. The larger it is, the larger the serving. It is more convenient to measure with cams than grams or spoons.
With this diet, the child will receive enough nutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Of course, there may be deviations from the diet; one cannot always strive for a reference menu.
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For example, a child might eat seven servings of grains during their growth period, or two servings of dairy but four servings of protein, or vice versa. It is also normal if the child eats a little less or more than the recommended servings - this may be his individual feature.
The child may even, for example, not eat dairy products at all - this is acceptable. At the same time, his diet will be complete if you add calcium-containing plant foods and additional protein to it.
Another example: a child may choose not to eat meat, fish, eggs, but to eat vegetable protein and dairy products. This is also a valid and healthy food option.Such a pyramid can be oriented according to the child's age Such a pyramid can be oriented according to the child's age
At what age can sweets be given to children?
Sweet is recommended not to include in the diet of children until at least two years of age.
Of course, if a child under two years of age accidentally tastes some sweetness, for example, bites off a piece of his mother's bun, nothing bad will happen, but sweets should not be part of the daily diet.
After two years, sugar may be present in the child's diet, but we do not talk about its regular consumption until four or five years.
How much sugar to eat - Harvard Public School of Health
Early and regular sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of tooth decay, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in children. It cannot be said that if a child eats cookies, then he will 100% have caries and be overweight, but the probability is higher.
It is usually easy to avoid sweets until the age of two, since children at this age are in the family, not yet attending kindergarten.
It is important to note that we are talking not only about sweets, but also about any sugar - granulated sugar added to cereals and curds, sweeteners like juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup and the like. All this should not be introduced into the child's diet too early. This does not apply to fruits - they do not apply to added sugars.
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How much sugar can be in a child's diet
|Age||Sugar rate||How much is||For comparison|
|Up to 2-4 years||Withhold sugar until at least 2 years, avoid regular use until 4 years||No sweetened products||-|
|4-6 years||No more than 19 grams of sugar per day||Approximately 3 full teaspoons or 5 sugar cubes||Approximate amount of sugar in 2 90 ml Rastishka bottles|
|7-10 years||No more than 24 grams of sugar per day||Approximately 4 full teaspoons or 6 sugar cubes||Approximately the amount of sugar in 50 grams of dark chocolate|
|Over 10 years old and adults||No more than 30 grams of sugar per day||Approximately 5 full teaspoons or 7 sugar cubes||One can of Coca-Cola contains 35 grams of sugar: that's more than the daily allowance|
to 2-4 years old
Do not give sugar up to 2 years, avoid regular use up to 4 years
no sweetened products
No more than 19 grams of sugar per day
How much is
Approximately 3 full teaspoons or 5 sugar cubes
About so much sugar in 2 bottles of Znishki, 90 ml
About the amount of sugar in 50 grams of dark chocolate
Over 10 years old and adults
No more than 30 grams of sugar per day 90 30003
Approximately 5 full teaspoons or 7 sugar cubes
One can of Coca-Cola contains 35 grams of sugar: more than the daily allowance
What if a child prefers sweets to healthy food?
The first question is what we consider sweet. Fruits are often referred to as sweets, but this is not true. Fruit is a healthy, healthy and important product for children. If a child loves fruits and chooses them from a large number of foods, this is normal.
Another thing is if the child eats only cookies, sweets, sweetened yoghurts, curds and the like. This, of course, is not the norm.
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Often, an excess of sweets in the diet is associated with the fact that they try to feed the child with all their might. For example, a baby does not like cottage cheese, so sugar is added to it so that he eats at least a little. Or the child does not like soup, but then they promise him cookies, so the wrong habit is formed.
If children prefer sweets, you need to look at how it appeared in their lives and what role it plays. For example, sweets are often a motivation for a child to eat other foods. There are several ways to gradually reduce the amount of sweets in your diet.
Stop motivating with sweets. Sweets should be given along with the main meal, limiting their portion. That is, the child does not need to put a plate of borscht and a whole cake, but you can put a small candy. As soon as parents stop being afraid to do this, and the child understands that he can eat sweets just like that, the motivational component disappears. Children stop demanding sweets.
Smoothly reduce sweets in the diet. For example, give not five cookies, but four, add not three spoons of sugar to porridge, but two. Then continue to reduce portions gradually, a little bit once a week. So little by little you can come to a safe amount of sweets for the child.
Plan your sweets. For example, the family agrees that they buy a cake on Saturdays or ice cream on Sundays. That is, they buy sweets not when the child made a scandal at the checkout of the store, but when the parents planned it, they talked with the child.
Then the children know that they can eat sweets, they don't forbid them, they don't need to overeat them somewhere, they will always have them on a certain day. As a result, they start eating less sweets.
Do not be intimidated by sweets. Children should not be told that if they eat a piece of cake, their teeth will fall out tomorrow or their stomach will ache. This will not happen, but they will see and remember that parents cannot always be trusted.
How I started eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
How can I get my child to eat more fruits and vegetables?
It is unlikely that my answer will be unexpected - you need to eat them yourself. Most families do not eat enough vegetables and fruits. There are objective reasons for this - for example, it is expensive, and subjective - adults do not like vegetables, do not know how to cook them, are afraid of store-bought fruits, and so on.
Only one in ten adults in the world eat enough fruits and vegetables. In Russia, approximately 50% of families eat vegetables and fruits irregularly.
There is no magic here: if we ourselves started eating vegetables and fruits today, then the child will not start eating them tomorrow. This is a long process. Many children take three to six months to change their diet.
Basic tips: eat vegetables and fruits ourselves, put them on the table, don’t make them into an unpleasant mess, cut them into nice pieces on a plate, offer them with every meal, don’t insist, don’t force them. We don’t try to hide zucchini in cutlets or spinach in juices, but we learn to eat with pleasure. Then the children will start repeating after us.
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How can a teenager eat healthier?
Teenagers who only eat chips and drink cola are isolated cases of serious nutritional problems. Such children will be in a state of nutritional deficiency.
Of course, as children enter adolescence and receive pocket money, at some point they spend it on food. Usually this is the food that is limited or not available at home. This is normal, this is the stage of growing up.
If a child after school went to the store and bought chips, it is important to overcome the desire to scold, scold, deprive of pocket money, punish, intimidate. It is worth accepting this as the decision of the child and his choice. Then, just as in the case of younger children, the teenager will understand that food is allowed, he is not scolded. This means that he will not have the desire to stock up on such food and hide from his parents with it.
He will understand that if he wants chips or cola, he can go and buy them. As a result, he will switch to something else, start making decisions not in favor of fast food or sweets.
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It is the forbidden that becomes desirable. When we try to severely limit ourselves in any products, we go on diets, we have breakdowns. When there are no prohibitions, then there are no breakdowns.
An important point: before becoming a teenager, a child must understand that all these products are not something terrible, dangerous and forbidden, but something that he can try at a certain age.
You can talk to him that sometimes we buy hamburgers and cola when we go to a cafe, or we get popcorn at the cinema, or sometimes we eat chips at home. Parents are often afraid that the child will get into an environment where fast food is available and begin to overeat. But if there is no ban, this is unlikely to happen.
Should you always cook homemade food? What semi-finished products can be added to the diet?
It is not necessary to cook homemade meals all the time. Of course, it is associated with healthier eating habits, allowing you to eat more vegetables and fruits, a variety of grains, and get more fiber. But sometimes it’s okay to eat in a restaurant, order food with delivery, buy ready-made products in a store.
Speaking of semi-finished products, you need to understand that they are different. So, a frozen vegetable mixture is also a semi-finished product, but it is a healthy healthy product. A mixture for soup made from dry grains and dried vegetables is also a semi-finished product, but it is useful and allows you to diversify your diet.
How much does it cost to cook at home for children and with them
However, semi-finished products are also, for example, sausages and sausages. They often contain too much salt and saturated fat and are highly processed foods. Such products, of course, should be limited in the diet of children over five years old and avoided in the menu of children under five years of age.
That is, you can eat any food, but it is important to choose foods that provide the greatest variety, allow you to eat more vegetables and fruits, and limit those that are high in sugar, salt, saturated fat.
What can and cannot be said to a child about food?
What we tell a child about food affects his habits to a lesser extent than what we show and how we ourselves relate to food. But if parents speak negatively about the weight or appearance of the child, comment on his food, this increases the risk of nutritional problems in the future.
Also, do not intimidate with food - for example, telling that cola will make a hole in the stomach. The child will see that no hole has formed in himself or his friends, and his level of trust in adults will decrease.
“You have to eat homemade food or you die”: 10 burning questions about healthy eating run, jump high and so on. Also, food helps us grow and be strong, enables our organs to work properly.
It is necessary to tell about the fact that food is different. So, some food gives only energy, pleasant taste sensations, a sense of celebration. For example, cake and other sweets. But it does not fill the body with vitamins and minerals, does not help to grow and develop. Such food can be eaten, but if we make it the basis of nutrition, it will be harder to play and learn.
This knowledge is enough for a child to understand how food works, why it is needed, not to avoid certain foods, to learn to love food.
How to suspect an eating disorder in a child?
Eating disorders, eating disorders, in children are often overdiagnosed. Often, even the minimum selectivity of a child in nutrition is recorded here.
Eating Disorders in Children - American Academy of Pediatrics
This happens not only in Russia, but also in many other countries. But abroad, this is usually done by the parents themselves, and the doctor stops them, can determine from the list of criteria whether there really are violations or not.
In Russia, on the other hand, doctors often give parents the impression that their child has an eating disorder. It happens that such a diagnosis is made if the child does not eat one product, he does not like the smell or texture of some food. Many adults behave the same way, say, they cannot eat boiled onions or drink frothy milk, but no one diagnoses them because of this.
An eating disorder should be suspected if:
- The child is critically short of height or weight.
- His physical development is impaired.
- There is regular weakness, drowsiness, the child is constantly cold and cannot get warm.
- He does not show interest in active activities, that is, we see that there is a lack of energy.
It is also possible for a child to have an eating disorder if they do not eat many food groups. For example, 80-90% of the diet is dairy products, and he does not want the rest. Or when a child eats only one product - for example, only one brand or in a certain form. For example, he drinks only kefir of one brand from a bottle. There will be no other kefir, and if this one is poured into a cup, it will also refuse.
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You can also suspect an eating disorder in a child if he has severe anemia, severe deficiency of calcium, B vitamins, protein.
If parents think their child has an ED, they need to see a doctor.
In most cases, all of the above signs are absent in a child. He may have a weight at the lower limit of the norm, he may give preference to the same dairy products, but they do not take up 90, but 50%, he may have anemia, but not critical, but one that is eliminated by taking iron supplements. In these cases, we are not talking about RPP, but about a selective diet, which is adjusted by training and changing feeding tactics.
True eating disorders are very rare in children. And in most cases, if it is, then there are some concomitant diseases.
Which doctor should I go to if parents suspect a child has an ED?
The history is taken by the paediatrician. It evaluates whether the child has physical manifestations of selective nutrition: his weight, height, development, nutritional deficiencies, and so on.
If the child's nutrition has not been corrected, and his selectivity prevents him from developing, it is worth going to a psychiatrist. Only a psychiatrist can make such a diagnosis as RPP, not the parents themselves and not the pediatrician.
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This is important, because when a child does not have eating disorders, we can teach him. He does not need psychotherapy, nutritional support and so on.
If there is an eating disorder, then a team should work: a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, a nutritionist prescribing additional food, planning the sequence in which new foods are introduced into the diet.
Sometimes psychologists take over the correction of the nutrition of such children, but they cannot properly expand the child's diet when each new product is worth its weight in gold. You can’t introduce zucchini or cookies as a third product if the child eats only two: this will not give the right amount of energy and nutrients.
In my practice I have seen two children with an eating disorder where it was confirmed by a psychiatrist. Such cases cannot be confused with anything, they are significantly different from "does not eat any vegetables" or "refuses meat and fish." These are not the children who can be forced or persuaded to eat, feed under a cartoon.
What problems should I contact a pediatric nutritionist and how to choose such a specialist?
Nutrition, unfortunately, is largely discredited by specialists who prescribe dietary supplements for everyone. Many people think that a nutritionist is someone who will give you a promo code to buy a huge list of vitamins, put you on a strict diet with no dairy products, gluten, fruits, or anything else.
In fact, nutrition is the science of healthy and varied nutrition, and a nutritionist is the person who will help plan the menu.
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children were interested in them, read food labels, diversify the family menu.
A nutritionist works only with healthy people. He cannot treat obesity, anemia, other conditions or diseases, prescribe tests and read them. Its mission is to help healthy people plan healthy diets.
When choosing a nutritionist, it is important to look at the reviews of the people with whom he has worked, as well as what the specialist says and writes about. If he prescribes supplements, tries to exclude products or entire product groups from the menu, you should refuse his services. This is not about healthy eating and not about healthy eating habits.
Your own feelings are also important - is there trust in a specialist, is it comfortable to work with him. But education, course certificates, and so on are not always an indicator of professionalism, because there are few educational programs that train good nutritionists.
- It is extremely rare for children to actually eat nothing. More often, parents' complaints are related to the fact that the child does not eat what, in their opinion, he should.
- Every child should eat according to his appetite, there are no nutritional norms.
- Coaxing children to eat is not effective in the long run and only reduces their interest in food.
- Alcohol is perhaps the only absolutely harmful product that under no circumstances should be given to children. For other products, there may be an age until which they should not be given.
- It is good if the child eats enough vegetables and fruits, grains, dairy products and protein. Deviations from the optimal menu are acceptable, since almost any diet can be adjusted so that it contains all the necessary nutrients.
- Sweet is recommended not to be included in the diet of children until at least two years of age.
- Sweet should not be a motivation to eat other foods. If the child is already used to eating a lot of sweets, gradually reducing their amount in the diet can help.
- For children to eat more fruits and vegetables, adults need to eat them themselves.
- The ban on fast food and other food that adults consider harmful, on the contrary, makes it more desirable for a teenager.
- You can eat any food, including fast food, but strive for a varied and healthy diet.
- Eating disorders are often overdiagnosed. Such children are rare.
- In case of suspicion of eating disorders, you should first visit a pediatrician, and then contact a psychiatrist.
- The child should be told why food is needed and what it is, but not intimidate, not comment on his appearance and taste preferences.
- A nutritionist works only with healthy people, he cannot prescribe tests or treat anything. Also, a good specialist does not prescribe a huge amount of dietary supplements.
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