Diet & Nutrition

Mealtime madness: keeping your kids nourished

Family mealtime

If you feel as though you need to be a professional negotiator and full time chef just to get through dinner time with your kids, you're not alone.

Getting your kids to eat what you've made is a common struggle amongst parents. And, doing it with little fuss or complaint seems to be equally as difficult. Here are our tips on making mealtimes less stressful!

Get kids involved in preparation

Children feel a real sense of inclusion when they help prepare meals. Plan some fun meals for the week with the kids and shop for them on the weekend. The fruit and vegetable section is an especially good place to teach kids how to choose good produce and they can help you wash and chop them later!

Eat as a family

Research shows that families who eat together not only have a greater intake of fruits and vegetables, but they are also more likely to enjoy mealtimes. This creates a positive eating environment where the company and conversation are an important part of the meal - not just the food.

Set a good example

One of the best ways to get your children to eat nutritious foods is for them to see you enjoying them. Teach your kids to eat when they are hungry and to stop when they are full - rather than having to eat everything on their plate. Show your kids that enjoying a nourishing mealtime experience is more important than eating everything that’s on the plate.

Some final tips:

  • Try to only make one meal for the entire family. When children demand another meal, because they don't like the one you've made, it's usually because they want your attention - not because they don't like the food. Try not to make a separate meal for one or more members of the family - as this rewards fussiness.
  • Try to stay clear of negotiation strategies that involve receiving treats like ice-cream if they eat their vegetables as it creates the idea that nutritious foods aren't pleasant.
  • Be confident in suggesting if they simply don't like what is made that there isn't another option. Trust that your kids won't become malnourished or be at risk of starvation if they don't eat that meal.
Nutritional information supplied by The Sanitarium Nutrition Service

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