Family meals were also another major focus of the Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters webinar and registered dietitian Andrea Garen, mother of two, addressed some common barriers to family meals. "As parents, we have to let go of the idea of the perfect, cooked-from-scratch meal," said Garen. "If half of your meal is take-out chicken or a simple sandwich, and you serve it with salad or fruit and milk to drink, it is OK. You are eating a balanced meal together as a family, and that's what is most important."
The following child-feeding tips were compiled during the Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters webinar to help parents focus on how to feed children, counteract childhood obesity and end dinnertime drama.
TEN SIMPLE WAYS PARENTS CAN EAT, PLAY, LOVE TO RAISE HEALTHY EATERS
- Focus more on HOW to feed kids versus WHAT to feed kids.
- Adopt a feeding strategy, and use Ellyn Satter's "Division of Responsibility in Feeding Model," in which parents decide the "what, when and where" of feeding and children decide "whether" and "how much" they'll eat.
- Trust children to respond to their own hunger and fullness cues.
- Make time for family meals -- breakfast, lunch or dinner -- and serve the same meal for adults and children. No short-order cooks!
- Take a positive approach to food; don't talk about foods as good or bad.
- Be a healthy role model. Try new foods, make healthy choices, drink milk and eat a variety of foods from all food groups.
- Don't bargain, bribe or reward kids with food.
- Expose children to new foods 10 - 15 times or more. Pair a new food with a favorite for a more positive experience.
- Give kids choice -- let them choose between two healthy options, like carrot or celery sticks with yogurt-based dip as a first course or applesauce or pears for dessert.
- From an early age, get children involved in planning and preparing healthy meals.
About Dairy Council of California
Through its nutrition education programs the Dairy Council of California promotes nutrient-rich choices from all the food groups and regular physical activity as the foundation for optimal health. Healthy Eating Made Easier®.
Meals Matter is a free family nutrition and meal-planning website staffed by registered dietitians with Dairy Council of California.
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.
Andrea Garen, M.A., R.D.
Source: Dairy Council of California