Mealtime Battle

March 14, 2011

The battle at meal time – it’s huge. It’s stressful on the entire family. The kids aren’t hungry – they don’t want to eat. They don’t want what is served. Is there a way to solve this battle? I think so.
Kids quite often get hungry an hour or so before dinner and begin whining. This is where the mealtime problem begins. Moms, in their effort to keep life calm, give in and either gives a snack or juice box/bag or both within that hour prior to dinner. Then, the kids don’t want to eat their dinner because they are not hungry. These snacks and juices are processed foods and trust me; they do not provide good nutrition for our children. But these foods do fill them up with empty calories. So, dinnertime becomes a battle ground and most often the kids leave the dinner table without eating a good meal. A little while later, they are hungry again. This is not their fault; they truly are hungry. Out come the snacks and they have not eaten a healthy meal.
Here is my suggestion: no snacks or juices within an hour of meal time. I know there will be a few days of adjustment whining. But Moms, hang in there – it will get better. Kids need to be hungry at mealtime. Just prior to that golden hour prior to mealtime, I suggest peeling an orange or cutting up an apple and sharing the slices with the kids. None of them need a whole orange or apple, they need just enough to take the edge off their hunger. And, the whole food provides sweetness, hydration, and vitamins that are not the isolates found in vitamin fortified processed foods. Kids should feel hungry at mealtime. That is the trigger for them to eat. And if they don’t finish their dinner, no worries. Simply place their plate in the refrigerator. When they are hungry again in an hour or so, get out their plate, heat it up and let them finish their dinner. Forget the snack foods. The kids will soon catch on and will learn to eat their meals.


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