It is often said that a family that eats together, stays together. This age-old adage holds true for every meal that any family eats as a collective whole. But if a recent study is to be believed, the saying may extend to snacks eaten together as well. A new study, published in the journal 'Appetite', shows that parents and adult caregivers tend to make better food choices for themselves if they accommodated their children's request for a particular snack, whether the snack is healthy or not.
Through a series of experiments and rigorous field study, the researchers mentioned how powerful caregivers felt and what foods they consumed after making decisions in various scenarios. So in a situation where adults packed a tasty, at times even unhealthy treat for their kids in their lunch box, the impetus to indulge in unhealthy foods themselves reduced significantly. In one experiment, participants who granted a child's snack request ate on average 2.7 fewer unhealthy snacks and 1.9 more healthy snacks than those who imposed their own preferences on the child.
Study researcher Utku Akkoc from University of Alberta in Canada called it a 'striking finding' that showed the psychological impact of decision making. "Our theory is that moms who accommodate the child's preferences against their better judgment would end up feeling less powerful, compared to moms who successfully impose their own food choices on their children. This happens because accommodation involves a passive and less stressful willingness to yield to the child. When people feel less powerful, they make more inhibited, healthier choices like a dieter would," explained Akkoc.
The research also proved the old saying to be true for meals eaten together. Adult caregivers were more influenced in their personal choices if they were eating together with their child, consuming the same variation of healthy or unhealthy food.
(Also Read: 10 Healthy Snacks for Kids)
"We believe it's because people would feel hypocritical if they ate cake in front of a child that's made to eat fruit. It shows some ways parents and other adults can increase their own healthy eating by dining together with their children after making healthy choices for them," elaborated Akkoc.
Thus, the study is extremely significant from the point of parents and caregivers who are looking to shed some kilos. The easiest and the most effective solution to control the food you consume is just by eating together with your children. When you make healthy choices for them, the psychological impact of your decision will not let you have unhealthy food yourself - making it a win-win situation for you and your family!
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