We all know that mealtimes can be manic, grab and go, chuck the TV on, that’ll do…. And every now and then, that will do (because we are human after all)! However, mealtimes are a great opportunity for your child to learn. So, here are 3 tips to having more successful mealtimes.
1. Get your child involved in preparation
Getting your child to snap the beans, stir in the pasta sauce, spread the cheese on top, provides them with an opportunity to explore food from a different perspective and…. there’s no pressure to eat it! This is a great opportunity to learn more about those ‘non-preferred foods’ as there is no expectation to eat it during preparation so it provides a safe environment for them to explore it. This gives them more exposure to the look, smell, and feel of it.
2. Have family mealtimes
It is important to provide your children with the opportunity to have family meals on a regular basis. Research has shown there are so many benefits to having family meals. This includes:
- Better academic performance
- Higher self-esteem
- Greater sense of resilience
- Lower risk of substance abuse
- Lower risk of teen pregnancy
- Lower risk of depression
- Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
- Lower rates of obesity
Family meals provide your children with the perfect opportunity to learn from their role models – parents! It also provides the whole family time to catch up and be together.
3. Change how you present the food
You’ve probably all seen your children be completely put off as soon as you put down their ‘big plate’ of veggies and meat. Putting a full plate of food in front of them can be overwhelming. An alternative way to presenting the food is having a family style meal. What I mean by that is having all the food on plates in the middle of table. Pass each plate around with two size spoons (small and big). Each person has the choice to have a small spoon or a big spoon of the food. This way, there is always a choice.