Eating Together At Meal Times – And why this is important in a growing child’s life!

In a recent article, Anne Fishel, co-founder of a non-profit organisation, The Family Dinner Project stated, 

…family dinners encourage children to eat more fruit & vegetables and fewer fried foods and soft drinks. When kids grow into young adults, they keep benefiting from the practice of regular family meals and are more likely to keep eating healthy food once they have left the family home.

This is definitely good news! Not only this, but the article went on to discuss the benefits of a healthy mind, healthy social interactions and healthy overall life. 

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But there was one very important warning – kids that sat in front of the television eating were most likely to become overweight by the time they were in their middle years of primary school.

I believe it is important for our kiddies and as a family that we as parents lead by example – teaching our kids about healthy food choices, eating the same food at the same table and practicing healthy social interactions between adults and kiddies around the table.

Dinner is a fabulous time to relax around the table, conversing about our day and learning from each other. This is where the art of conversation is developed. 

Here are a few pointers to get your kids sitting around the table, eating the same food with you:

1.    Involve them in the preparation of dinner. Converse about the benefits of each food product, what you like about it and so on. Help them to understand how good the food is for our bodies.

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2.    Avoid snacks given to the kids late in the afternoon. This can curb their hunger and make it more difficult for them to want to eat their dinner.

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3.    If the kids get restless at the table, get them to talk about their favourite… book, teacher, movie, activity etc… Taking turns to talk, practicing listening, respect the ideas of someone else are all good learning opportunities.

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4.   Set up some boundaries when at the dining table. Some examples may be – everyone must finish eating before anyone can leave the table, talking with food in your mouth can create a messy spray in someone’s face – let’s not go there! Everyone gets the opportunity to share something they are thankful for while everyone sitting at the table etc.. Everyone helps clear the table, stack the dishwasher etc..

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5.    Create an atmosphere of celebration every time you gather around the table. Celebrate each other, celebrate good food, celebrate life. 

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These are just a few ideas of how to make your gathering around the table a place of success for your kids. I am sure many of you can add some more to this list. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. In the meantime, keep creating fabulous food and tasting memories! And go ahead, share with your friends and don't forget to #insofiaskitchen when reposting.

Sofia xo

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