Happier Mealtimes, Healthier Eating for Kids

From the October 12th HealthDay News:

Preschoolers whose families were more positive at mealtimes ate nearly one serving more of soy-protein products, fruits or vegetables, on average, compared with those with negative family mealtimes, researchers reported in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. The findings, based on survey data involving parents of children ages 3 to 5, showed that increased child involvement in grocery shopping as well as meal planning and preparation was tied to more positive mealtimes.

Here are her suggestions:

  • Be clear about what is expected during meals.
  • Establish a routine, eating at about the same time and in the same room or setting each day.
  • Give kids jobs. Assign individual tasks, such as setting the table.
  • Remind kids to express themselves with words and not scream when they are upset.
  • Don’t force it. Parents should encourage their children to try new foods, but after several tries it may be time to move on. Kids don’t have to like everything.
  • Stay calm. Parents should try techniques such as breathing exercises to help them keep their emotions in check.

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