How do you make your family mealtime more pleasant?
August 11, 2008 1:05pm CST
Mealtime, whether it's breakfast together or a family dinner, doesn't have to be as stressful as the rest of your day. Here are some tips to set an example of healthy eating, which children learn from their parents: Encourage a child's participation in meal preparation (measuring, stirring, decoration, cutting and arranging). If the child is able, give her a small, mini-shopping list to look for a few items on the lower shelves. Make sure the foods are nutritious and easy to handle. Set a good example. If other people at the table enjoy a variety of foods, your child will learn by copying what you do. Do not coax, play games, or force your child to eat. You are not teaching good food habits. Make a wide variety of nutritious foods available to your child, and then let your child decide what to eat. Be casual about desserts, and make them a part of the total meal plan when they are served. Placing special attention on desserts or using them as rewards only makes them more desirable than other foods. Let your child be the judge about how much to eat. Appetite may vary from one meal to another and from day to day. Never make an issue of food acceptance. You provide the nutritious choices...then let the child choose among them.
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