If you were going to make one change, just one, to create a healthier family – what should it be? What is the best thing to combat fussy eating and create children who are more adventurous eaters?
This one thing is to eat TOGETHER as a family.This means: turning off the TV, eating together and reducing the pressure.
1. Turn off the TV
– Reduces distractions and means people (both the kids and the adults) can focus more on their hunger and fullness. Everyone will begin to eat mindfully and intuitively.
– No TV increases family conversations and connection.
– TV marketing is usually discretionary items (sometimes foods or treats) that you don’t want marketed at your children.
2. Eat together
– Eating together includes at least one adult and the kids.
This allows you to role model, to show your kids the foods and behaviour you expect at the table. This is actually THE strongest predictor for the variety of food a child eats.
3. Reduce the pressure
– As a parent or carer your responsibility is to offer healthy food at regular intervals. Kids choose if they want to eat and how much.
– No pressure to eat, no pleading.
In general, create a nice space (set the table etc), eat with your kids (eat the same foods), show them you are enjoying your meal and let them eat as much or as little as they wish.
There are lots of other benefits of eating together, including a more connected family; kids with greater resilience and higher self-esteem.
Remember- just one thing for a healthier, happier mealtime.