My top tips for happy mealtimes
(these aren’t just for children! Most of these tips are valid for you too)
- The aim is for mealtimes to be relaxed and happy.
- Eat around a table - not in front of the TV (as this can encourage overeating due to focusing on something else rather than what’s going into your mouth).
- Avoid using threats, bribery, or force feeding. Don’t feel obliged to finish your plate.
- Avoid rewarding your child by giving them attention for not eating. This will only reinforce the behaviour. It is hard not to be concerned but they will eat eventually.
- Pair something enjoyable with mealtimes, e.g., reading a story, non-food related conversation, having music on in the background.
- Try to have a regular routine for eating and mealtimes so that everyone gets into the habit of balancing their blood sugar well. Try and stick to three meal a day, with no snacks. When works for you for regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Make a plan and stick to it.
- Encourage everyone to try new foods (make this a normal part of eating). If you have children, from pre-1 year old if possible as it gets harder after this. Modelling: let your children copy you enjoying your food and trying different things. Think about adding new fruits and veg to your trolley with your weekly shop. Have a go of a fish recipe that you’ve not tried before. Push yourself out of your comfort zone!
- Find non-food rewards – this is a key! Make a list of what’s relevant to you, and when you feel you deserve a treat think about what you can pick from that list.
Let me know how you get on. Which of these resonates with you? What can you change?