Eat breakfast, even if it is simply some fruit or a couple of crackers. This will encourage your child to do the same. Spending a little time at the table each morning will not only start the habit of breakfast, but will also set the day up positively for your children, opening them to communication.
Turn the TV off during mealtimes. TV can be a fantastic learning tool, but we all know that it is mesmerizing. There is a time and place for everything and we are trying to encourage mindful eating, not mindless eating!
Serve the same meal to everyone where possible. The dinner table is not a restaurant and you are surely too busy to be making 3 or 4 different meals. It does not matter if everything is not eaten by all, but it is important that meals are varied to encourage kids (and adults) to try new foods. You will get bored with eating ‘kids foods’ and they will not learn to try new foods. Obviously, tone down the chilli and salt in cooking - add it at the table if necessary
Putting foods in the centre of the table can help to satisfy everyone. Each person can choose what they would like and how much of the foods on offer. Try not to be a control freak, trust your children to eat enough...and not too much. You choose what to put on the table and they choose how much to eat.
Here’s the basic time frame of learning to eat: 0 to 6 months, milk. 6 months to 1 year, milk + progression of solids. 1 year of age, family meals largely unmodified. They should be able to manage all textures by 1 year of age, even without all their teeth! The next few years will be about learning about different flavours – the more kids are exposed to a food, the more likely they are to eat it.
If you are struggling with setting up family meals, if your child is overly fussy, or if you would like to learn more about appetite regulation and healthy eating, feel free to contact me at Tyack Health.