While meal time can often mean ‘war time’ with picky little ones (no judgement I’ve been there myself!) Recent studies show a more fun, relaxed environment sets the stage for children to eat MORE produce (on average one full serving size more, according to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology) reporting “moms who telegraphed more positive emotions, such as warmth and encouragement- and who seemed to be enjoying themselves- had children who ate about one more serving, on average, of healthy food like fruits and vegetables”.
Cool story Ashley, you say to yourself, but how am I supposed to apply this on 4 hours of sleep nights and teething babies and soccer practice etc etc?
I present to you my top 5 tips,tricks and hacks for enjoying your fruits and veggies!
1.) Never Underestimate The Power Of Silliness
See those carrots and sugar snap peas we put little edible eyeballs on with honey? They were devoured! At our house when we are trying foods my kids are “learning to like” we put on silly songs (my personal favorite are veggie tales but any will do) and rock out during dinner.
2.) Set The Table
Now we don’t do this all the time. But days where we do, I’ve noticed an improvement in the kids willingness to participate in meal time. Make it special with some name place cards! Use a dollar tree table cloth to mix things up. Use fun colored or character based plates.
3.) Always Offer A Vegetable With Your Meal
Even if it doesn’t get eaten or even tried, your kids will learn they are a part of life. However once your kids see how much you enjoy it, they are more likely to give it a go themselves.
4.) Meal Prep/ Plan Ahead
Admittedly one of my weaknesses. However its a lot easier to keep my attitude in check to help create that warm, encouraging environment when I’m not being screamed at by hungry minions while trying to decide what to make for dinner at 5 o’clock. 😉 It also helps me to choose healthy options when I plan out what we eat when I’m not starving.
And on that note
5.) Do What Makes Meal Time Enjoyable for You
Be it lighting your favorite candle, using your all time favorite salad dressing, or melting some dark chocolate over your favorite fruits for dessert, having things to look forward to and things to enjoy at meal time can create an experience for yourself too. Not only do you deserve to have a nice meal time, your whole family will benefit too.
6.) Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
It’s not going to be perfect. That’s okay. As long as you keep doing your best, keep a positive attitude and keep offering up those veggies, things will fall into place.