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Tips for Mealtime fun...

The collective groan as the clock strikes 5pm... children’s mealtime, is audible across many New Zealand households.  

The dreaded 4pm – 6pm grizzle time, mealtime, bath and bed shift.  The pressure is on...you want to cook something nutritious & wholesome but everyone needs to be fed NOW!!

At Yum Yum Kids we believe that mealtimes don’t need to become a battleground for New Zealand parents and set out to provide information and products to help make feeding children healthy and nutritious meals fun. 

 

“Between our four children we’ve come across many of the common mealtime challenges parents face on a daily basis – from fussy and messy eaters, through to intolerances and tantrums”  Saraid.   

 

We believe that small changes can go a long way to helping reduce battles at mealtimes and help children develop healthy attitudes to eating well.  It’s incredible how simple tips or a well designed product can transform mealtimes, the Kaboost is a great example – it’s a portable chair booster that fits all chairs and allows kids from about 15 months onwards to sit on their bottoms at the family table rather than separately at a small table or in a high-chair.

 

Yum Yum Kids Top Tips for Avoiding Mealtime Battles:

 

  • Teach them why – from quite a young age children are capable of understanding that they need different foods for different parts of their bodies, such as calcium for teeth and bones and that some foods (even though they taste nice) don’t make them feel as good (lots of high sugar,salt and processed foods)

  • Make the Time - A big contributor to the stress around mealtime...is time...or lack of it!!  Try to plan ahead, precook and freeze or refrigerate meals and choose dishes/ingredients that are straight forward and quick to prepare.  If your child is old enough, involve them in the dinner preparation - this gives them something to focus on and takes the pressure off you. 

  • 'A homemade tomato sauce full of pureed veges (tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, leeks, cauliflower, onion, garlic...or whatever you have in the fridge/garden) is great to have on hand for those evenings when you need something quick and nutritious.  Simply add to tuna or mince and pasta for a quick nutritious meal!' (Monique) Another option is the Green Monkey Organic Food Pouches.  These can simply be added to pasta or couscous (with a sprinkle of cheese) for a healthy meal ready in minutes....a fantastic option when travelling!

  • Keep it fun – vary how you serve food and how they eat it – make some shared dinners where they make their own pizza or eat off a fun plate or all outside on a picnic rug

  • Involve them – obviously it’s not practical every night, but sometimes plan, shop and cook a meal together (the more of a leading role they take the better). It’s about educating and empowering your children with knowledge about food and healthy attitudes which they will carry through life.  There’s lots of great learning to be done through cooking too – with measuring, reading recipes and learning about different tastes.

  • Eat together – try to have at least one meal a week as a family at the table and as many other meals as you can with them where an adult sits and shares the time with them – it’s tempting to plonk them in front of the TV, but mealtimes (especially when they see you eating too) are a wonderful time for talking and sharing with your children.

  • Positive reinforcement - acknowledge good behaviours and ignore the bad – praise heavily for trying new foods, staying at the table or good table manners.  Remember children’s appetites vary huge day to day and week to week – don’t always feel the pressure for them to consume a certain amount of food.

  • Variety of foods – it’s easy to limit siblings food by what the first child would eat – remember to keep trying to introduce children to a range of tastes, textures, colours.

  • Children may need to be offered a new food 6-10 times before they taste it and, eventually, eat it.

  • Mealtime routine – keep some consistency to mealtimes – eat around the same time for instance but have fun with it. If it’s sunny, go to the park for a picnic dinner for a change.

  • A Place for ALL food – remember there is a place for all food!  Life wouldn’t be fun without treats and special occasion food – just keep a balance and try to teach your children the difference between foods that help you grow and give you energy and those that are for occasional treats.

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