Monday, October 5, 2015

Taking Back Dinner

I'll be the first to admit that I'm terrible about mealtimes with my two boys. I'm a short order cook who lets the kids graze pretty much all day. My boys eat at the coffee table.

So I was really excited to get some tips at our last MOPS meeting from Lindsay Stenovec, a nutritionist and registered dietitian. She shared that there is a division of responsibility when it comes to meals. Parents do the what, when, and where of feeding. Children do the "how much" and "whether" of eating from what the parents offer. She suggested to try meals "family style" where children serve themselves (instead of pre-plating) in order to encourage self-regulation. She also recommended to stay neutral about sweet treats, offer them on a predictable basis, and not to use them as a reward for finishing veggies.

Keeping in mind her suggestions, I decided to give it a try that very night.

I made a big deal by setting the actual dinner table (I know!!) with placemats and everything. I even lit a candle to generate some excitement over this "special dinner". I set out a few dishes: frozen peas (a generally safe veggie), lentils (always a hit in my house), and baked sweet potato tots (a totally new item to them), and a slice of toast, cut into 4 pieces.

I didn't push anything at them or pressure them in any way. The result was a total hit! They loved scooping their own food (so grown up!). My oldest looked at the peas and said: "Me will only eat one of these" and gingerly put one into his mouth. Then he said: "Actually..." while he scooped a big spoonful onto his plate. They were curious about the sweet potato tots- my oldest ended up eating three, and my youngest took a bite out of four. My kids liked eating this way so much, they insist on a "special dinner" every night now, and sometimes even at lunch!! (And if you're wondering... yes, the candle always has to be lit, haha!).

I'd love to hear if you've had any success with Lindsay's tips!

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