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Posts Tagged ‘Family Mealtime’

During the upcoming holiday season, I encourage you to make time to enjoy an extra family meal together. Family meals can nourish your mind, body and soul. They provide a great opportunity to enjoy better conversations and strengthen your family ties by spending quality, focused mealtimes together.

You can also use family mealtime to encourage good manners and conversations. Not sure how to start a conversation with your children? Download these conversation starter cards provided from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. You will find a  variety of topics which are available for teens, families, and children.


Did you know that regular family meals create a routine that helps children feel more secure? According to Ruth Litchfield, Ph.D., R.D., Extension Nutritionist, Iowa State University, children who often eat dinner with their families do better in school and have lower levels of stress.

Still sound too hard to do? Check out these simple tips to make it easier to have a family mealtime available from USDA’s MyPlate MyWins.

Have you tried fixing a crock-pot or skillet meal? Using a crock-pot can help you have that meal ready when you get home. If you do not have a crock-pot, you can try one of these easy and tasty skillet recipes. Add a small salad, fresh fruit and low-fat milk for a quick meal that your family can enjoy together.

What tips can you share to make family mealtimes work? Send those tips via the comment section on this blog.

As we enter this special week of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take time to plan and enjoy an extra family meal with your family.

 

Sources:

Litchfield, R. (2015). Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Say “YES” to family meals. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/5414

Mealtime Conversation cards. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/ProductList?Keyword=conversation

MyPlate MyWins: Tips Making family meals. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins-tips-making-family-meals

USDA What’s Cooking? Retrieved from https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

 

Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu.

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There is a lot of talk about the importance of family meals. Your school age children may eat both breakfast and lunch in their school cafeteria. This is why it is important that the meals you eat with them are opportunities to teach healthy eating behaviors. Hopefully your children will carry these behaviors to the school lunchroom, and other settings. Listed below are meal-time tips you can use to encourage these healthy behaviors at home.

* Children are sponges! They learn from watching parents and older siblings. Try to eat as a family whenever you can. Include a good variety of foods, including vegetables. This is also a great time for conversations and practicing table manners.

* Enjoy a lunch date! Talk about school meals and what your children are eating. Try to understand why they make the choices they do. Have a breakfast or lunch date at school every few months. Not only will you see what is offered at the school meals, you will also see what your child is choosing.

* Learn what they like! Food preferences need to be respected and acknowledged. Teach young children to say “No, thank you” politely if they do not want any more after a taste. Make sure that the focus is on the great taste of the new foods you are trying. Even at a young age, many kids associate “good for you” with “tastes bad.”

*Experiment with new foods! Encourage kids to try one bite so they can expand their horizons. berries

* Don’t give up! Serve the foods your children previously resisted. It often takes several times of introducing a food before children eat and enjoy it.

* Try to resist the “forbidden foods” label! All foods can be part of a healthy diet.

* Encourage them in meal preparation! Let kids help fix items according to their age and skill level. Children are more willing to try foods, especially if they helped prepare them. Even young children can tear lettuce, rinse broccoli or even set the table. Let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try the next time they go to the store with you.

* Be a creative cook! Cut foods into interesting shapes and make the plate attractive.

Vegetable Train
* Name foods with cute names and offer finger foods, such as sliced fruit and vegetables. Kids like inviting foods just like adults do. Try raw vegetables with light dips. Serve broccoli trees or cauliflower clouds.

* Give your time! Make the meal or snack your sole focus. Conversation is good. TVs or other electronics should wait until the snack or meal is complete.

* Allow them time to eat! Try not to rush the children when they eat. Time pressure puts stress on eating and makes it less pleasurable.

* A child’s world is play! Make eating a fun time. Include discussions about colors, textures and flavors.

* Grow it yourself! If you have a garden or a few plants, include the children in planting and harvesting the produce. Children who participate in planting foods, or at least see where their foods come from are more likely to try them. Many schools now have gardens or container gardens. If your child’s school has a garden, talk to them about the foods they are growing. This is a great way for you to be involved with your child’s school!

These are just a few simple ways we’ve found to get kids to explore the world of healthy food. If they work for you, please share them with all your friends!

Source: Duyff, Roberta L. American Dietetic Association- Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 4th Edition, 2012.

Author: Liz Smith, Ohio State University Extension, Central Region SNAP-Ed, smith.3993@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

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