As parents, I think at one time or another, we have all struggled with meal time.
Have you worked hard on preparing a delicious meal only to have your kids turn up their noses?
Is so, these tips are for you, because meal time doesn’t need to be a struggle.
1. Serve One Meal and One Meal Only
Don’t be a short order cook, and if you already are, stop immediately.
Children are smart. When a child knows they can have something else, why would they try something new, or less favorable to them?
Prepare the meal you have planned. Serve a couple of side dishes, with at least one being a vegetable. Let your child choose freely from these options, with no comments on what they need to eat. You offer the foods, they choose what and how much to eat.
Repeat. Day after day.
Your children will start to understand that the food on the table is the food that is dinner. If they don’t care for whats served they can choose their meal from the side dishes. If they don’t like the side dishes, they are free to not eat. Tell them simply, and do not engage in arguments.
They won’t starve. I promise. They will learn that no amount of whining will get them other foods and they will start to eat your dinner.Don't be a short order cook at meal time, and if you already are, stop immediately. Find out how. Click To Tweet
2. Start a No Snacking Before Meals rule
You want hungry children at your dinner table. Monitor snacking so that they are not eating snacks or beverages (juice, milk, etc) at least one hour before meals.
Get in the habit of setting out chopped fresh veggies on the dinner table before meal time if your kids complain about starving, like mine do. Hungry kids are much more likely to happily snack on these healthy options.
3. Sit Down For Meals
Make time to sit down at the table together. Even if the only time that works some days is breakfast, make it happen.
Sitting together eating is a vital part of family life. Children need to see healthy habits repeated over and over. Seeing parents eat healthy foods goes a long way. Make it a goal to eat together most days of the week.
4. Take Kids Grocery Shopping
I know it is easier to leave the kids at home, but do bring your kids along to help shop. Let your kids help pick out healthy foods for your cart.
Give guidelines before entering the store to avoid begging for other foods. Let them know you are there to pick healthy foods and would love for them to help you choose.
When kids help make selections they are much more likely to eat them.
5. Create a Positive Atmosphere at Meals
Meals are all about food, but you don’t need to talk about food while eating.
Drive conversation to positive topics, such as your child’s day or what they did at school. Avoid making them clear their plate or forcing them to eat more veggies.
Don’t stop serving a food just because your child won’t eat it. It can take upwards of 20 times of seeing a food to try it. Seeing food over and over changes it from being an unfamiliar food to a familiar one, even if your child is not yet eating it.
Seeing healthy foods on the table day after day, along with seeing their parents eat these healthy foods, goes a long way in forming children’s food values. Eventually they will be ready to try these foods.Seeing parents eat healthy foods goes a long way in forming children's #food #values. #dinnerstruggles #kidtips Click To Tweet
By sitting down to meals and serving only one meal – that your child contributed to by grocery shopping, you are creating healthy habits. A positive atmosphere emerges around meal time which benefits all members of the family.
The stress of meal time disappears.
Now go and enjoy your meal time, and let me know below with your comments how it goes!