Maybe you are dealing with picky eaters, rushed mealtime or other dinner table dilemmas, this year’s Nutrition Month 2017 campaign has a solution. Plug your problem into their three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food. Here’s an example of how it works.
Maybe you work full-time and prepare dinner for your family every night. It’s a struggle getting a meal on the table that everyone will enjoy. One child is quite picky, one doesn’t want to try new things, and no one agrees on the foods they like. What are you supposed to do?
Spot the problem: The struggle is, making family meals that everyone will enjoy.
Get the facts: You can visits www.dietitians.ca and search “picky eaters.” This will show you that parents and children have different jobs at mealtime – most of my clients say they have never thought about it that way before. The parents’ job is to decide which nourishing foods are served, when dinnertime is, and where they will eat. It’s then up to your children to decide what and how much to eat from what you offer.
It is often such a relief for parents to have a framework for a plan, with separate roles for yourself, and your kids. Suddenly you realize that some small changes can make mealtime more enjoyable for everyone (Yay!). When you know that it’s your children’s job to determine how much to eat, you can stop telling them to “eat everything on their plate.” Plus, it helps you understand that it’s important to not to let the kids decide where they want to eat, which is often in front of the TV instead of at the dinner table.
Reading more information about picky eating on Eat Right Ontario and Healthlink BC websites, and from talking to me, you can learn that children take their nutrition cues from their parents. Now you can set a good example by preparing and eating nourishing choices. Often it comes to light that parents are rarely eating vegetables, and suddenly it makes sense that your kids won’t either! Here are some other things you may not know:
· Children’s appetites can be erratic and that’s okay! The amount your children eat will vary each day depending on their appetite, fatigue, activity level and if they are having a growth spurt. It doesn’t always mean they are picky – it is normal.
· Getting kids involved with grocery shopping, prepping and cooking food can help them become more interested in trying new things.
· It can take 8-15 tastes or more before a child will like a new food.
· Kids may seem picky or may eat a small amount because they are simply not hungry at meal times.
· It’s best to offer three meals and two or three snacks at regular times each day and to make sure kids aren’t grazing throughout the day. This will help the kids come to the table hungry since even a little milk, juice, or few crackers can spoil a child’s appetite
Seek support: Often just finding out that you are not the only parent of picky eaters can make you feel a lot better. Did you know that up to 35 per cent of parents describe their toddlers or pre-schoolers as picky eaters?! There are online support groups to talk to other parents about mealtime craziness. They share stories, swap recipes and inspire each other.
This is also where the work that we do at Nurture The Future can help. I often help clients with mealtime solutions that are family-friendly. Remember we offer online and in-person appointments, as well as grocery store tours.
Getting your kids more involved in shopping, prepping and cooking meals will make them more interested in family meals! Start by cooking these three kid-friendly options that they choose together:
· No-Bake Coconut & Banana Lentil Energy Bites
· Egg, tomato and cheese breakfast pizzas
· Hearty beef minestrone
Try these with your kids too, and find all 12 feature-recipes at www.NutritionMonth2017.ca. Or try the recipes on my website as most of them have been kid-approved too!
Look for more recipes on the Cookspiration app, and choose one that is marked as “kid approved” or “kids choice.”
Do you have a food fight that you struggle with? Try the three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food and make your commitment official at www.nutritionmonth2017.ca. If you need more support around your kids eating and your family’s food fight contact Jill, Nurture The Future’s Registered Dietitian at firstname.lastname@example.org
References: Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2017.ca.