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Family Mealtimes: Instilling Healthy Habits in Kids
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Mealtimes were more of a special event before TV's and Cell phones.
Love the ideas
When my son was younger, I used to enjoy mealtime together.. But now that he has gotten older (almost 18) we eat at different times and enjoy different types of food.
Great article. But I always put veggies out and told them they had to eat a veggie. And even my grandchildren the same way. When they went to the doctor they ask do they eat veggies and they would say only at my nana house. Well the doctor told them they need to eat a veggie everyday. Told the parents to make sure they get them because it was health for them.
If a child doesn't seem to care for a new vegetable, then fix two veggies at each meal and let him or her choose. That way, they can have some choice in what they eat, but will learn that both are good options. You and the others can then eat whatever vegetable is not favored. Soon your child will learn by copying what he sees other people choosing.
As a kid, I went trhu stages where I ate broccoli florets, then only the stalks, then finally all of the plant. Different textures at varying stages of my development. Now I eat the whole thing, and many others. But some veggies have taken years to learn to like or at least eat. I will never love spinach but I can get some down now - if its raw or chopped very fine and cooked into soup with many others. Okra on the other hand will always be nasty. But I love eggplant, peppers, beets, burssel sprouts, and many more so who cares if your kid won't eat all his veggies as long as he eats some.
I liked the suggestion to give them time to play in the water as rushing them may upset them and affect their mood at meal time. I will remember that. My nephew will eat most foods that he helps to prepare. As for my 18 year old. The environment helps. If we set the table and the table and meal is asthetically pleasing he will sit, eat and converse with us. A nice atmosphere just like a restaurant makes a meal more enjoyable.
A few things that worked for me as my children were growing up: (1) If they didn't want to eat a meal, their plate was covered, put in the fridge and warmed up if they wanted something to eat later. (2) They had to try at least two bites of everything being served. (3) Desserts were not used as a "reward" but absolutely no dessert if they didn't eat a meal (that doesn't mean they couldn't leave some food on their plate, but they did have to eat a reasonable amount). (4) I found that they would eat almost any veggie if I cut it up pretty small, apparently they didn't like larger chunks of chopped veggies--can be cut/chopped/diced either before or after cooking. (5) For toddlers and pre-teens, put the food on a smaller plate and using smaller portion sizes. (6) Young children will have an easier time eating with a salad fork than a regular fork. (7) Only if they were ill were they ever given different food and then they were usually given soup, etc. My children are grown now and even their children are good eaters although each of us has a few individual things we don't particularly like to eat. Don't make mealtime a time for battles, just set rules and stick to them.
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