Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WFMW ~Less stress at mealtimes

I know that for many families with young children, getting them to eat healthy food can be a very stressful venture. I thought I would share with you what works for us in our family(with kids ages 2-8) to make mealtimes less stressful. Here is basically what we do:

  • We give the children small plates with small portions. (We almost always serve them rather than letting them serve themselves.)
  • If it is a normal meal (not a large feast like Thanksgiving dinner, a potluck or leftover buffet) everybody is required to take everything being served whether it is a favorite or not.
  • No complaining about food is allowed. If it happens the complainer forfeits any possible dessert or snack before the next meal.
  • All food must be eaten. If for some reason they feel they just cannot finish then they can put it in a container and put it in the fridge and save it for when they are hungry again. So before they can eat a snack or another meal they need to eat that food. This makes sure they don't get conveniently full just because they don't like something, it is also helping to make sure our children are not that picky and it prevents food waste. There are times we do forget about the food for a meal or two (though actually often the kids will remind us!) so then we end up pulling it out then and having them eat it for that meal instead. Also sometimes the kids will have not wanted to eat because they were actually getting sick -in that case often their meal will get thrown out.

This method might sound strict but it really works very well for us. We have pretty much no arguing over eating your veggies or whatever kids might not like. The kids know the routine and except it. There have been things that they didn't like for a while (for instance Mara with mushrooms) but since they have to eat it anyway (we don't allow pulling items off or out of a dish) they have often learned to like it or at least not mind it. We have very fun mealtime conversations and really enjoy that time together as a family.

That works for me! I am interested to here how you deal with feeding your kids.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips visit Rocks in My Dryer.


Ang said...

hello there. I think that your suggestions are great. When I have kids I am going to try them. If at that time I remember them. You will have to remind me. love you

Angie said...

Hey ang can I be invited to read your blog? If not I understand but it would sure be nice! Thanks Angie R.

Mavis D. said...

This is pretty much what we do with our kids. We've got 5 of them ranging in age from 3 to 19 and there's not a "picky eater" in the bunch. I think this is why.

Oh they all go through stages when something isn't their favorite but they end up learning to like it...or at least tolerate it!

One thing we did is that they must TRY something at least 20 times before they are allowed to say they don't like it. They usually never keep track and I don't try so they end up learning to like it! LOL!

Totallyscrappy said...

I think the tip about no complaining is important! Respect and good eating habits... now what could be better than that!

Melissa said...

Oh my gosh, GREAT idea. I once allowed my kid to pick three things she doesn't like and therefore doesn't have to eat....thinking that was strict enough in itself, but her list started changing from day to day based on what I cooked! I like your idea. :) (Found your site from Rocks in my dryer, btw....)

martha said...

The only time I have problems is with Molly's gag reflects! There are a few things that no matter how hard we try (including Molly) she can't help but gag.
Otherwise that is our policy too and it works swell.
Sometimes my kids know I'm not as strict too the rules in public places and they try to get away with stuff then. :)

All in a Day said...

Don't ever change your policy; picky kids are the worst! (I know, I have enough of them...)


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