Feeding The Future
How to stop fighting over food and start creating a healthier routine!
When moms come into our facility (Haka Fitness), inevitably they are fascinated by the way we eat and the way we feed our kids. It's not just WHAT we feed them, but also HOW we feed them. A big proponent of "Parenting from Rest," I don't want to fight over every little thing and I definitely don't want dinner time to be a constant battle. We provide a healthy food environment, create an enjoyable food experience, and rely heavily on parental trickery for the rest. I hope these thoughts help...
EVERY single time
Some foods are power foods and (obviously) they make you have super powers... duh. At least one of these foods show up on the plate EVERY SINGLE TIME. Sauerkraut, olives, avocado, bone broth, fresh herbs like basil or cilantro (think pesto or guacamole), and organ meats all pack a powerful nutritious punch. Even if the rest of the meal is sub-par, at least one of these foods will be there. My child doesn't always eat it, but it is ALWAYS there. As an added bonus, each of these foods is so nutrient dense that even just a bite or two will gets you a Parent of the Year award!
Great out the gate
Research shows that when we are presented with more food options, we eat more and we tend toward the more calorie and carbohydrate dense options. What does that mean for feeding your kids? When presented with a plate of food, they'll head straight for the least nutritious option. To mitigate this, try leading with a single food while you put the finishing touches on dinner, like an appetizer. A plate of high quality salami or sausage, a sliced boiled egg, some olives, or a few berries allows for easy pickings and ensures they'll get something nutritious in even if they eat nothing else!
Busy Bodies, Feeding Fun
I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to argue at the dinner table. Trying to get my first son to sit still was a nightmare, but I also wanted him there with us. The solution came by accident and it was so easy, we just kept it going. Now, we have active dinners. When we eat inside, the dinner area has art supplies, play-doh or slime, and stickers. Just as often, we eat outside where the kids can run around and just stop by their plates for a bite here and there. Both options work great, keep the peace, and allow Mark and I a better chance at modeling conversation.
I lived through the fights as a kid and I just don't see that there was any benefit. A little bit of each food goes on the plate, we model good eating, we praise adventurous taste buds and we respect preferences. While I'm not going to prepare multiple meals every day, I am happy to let you select a different option and fix it for yourself. With young kids, this looks like a shelf in the refrigerator from which they can select foods. Older kids might be allowed to create their own meal within a set of parameters. Why not let them learn to prepare their own food AND honor their individual needs? It's a two for one.
You might also find these blog posts interesting for more thoughts on creating an easier meal time routine: