Posts Tagged ‘family meals’
With all of us being so aware with just how much it costs to feed a family, giving your children an appreciation of the cost of food is essential.
Usually, but not always, it is cheaper to eat at home, and I thought it is worth sharing how I got Claire to figure that out for herself…
While Claire was making bacon and egg pie – I was in the kitchen and we were just chatting away when I commented I thought it might be interesting to see how much it cost to make. Not being at all interested in the cost of anything that I paid for, I was surprised when she agreed. Together we chatted away and divided the cost of the pastry by two, halved the egg carton cost, worked out the proportion of the pack of bacon she had used, and made a calculated guess of how much the potatoes and tomatoes cost. She mentally added it all up and divided it by how many hungry kids she thought it would feed. She came to the conclusion that it was a pretty fair price and when she is living in a flat that would be an economical meal to make for dinner. We left it at that.
A few days later she burst through the front door hardly able to contain herself… “Mum I was in a café in town and I saw a scungy piece of bacon and egg pie for sale. It cost MORE for one piece than it cost for me to make it for six people – and it looked all dry like it had been made a few days ago”.
She got it. By herself. Sow the seed and they will work it out.
I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat Better, Eat Together Balancing Act blog carnival hosted by MealsMatter and Dairy Council of California to share ways families everywhere can make time for family meals that include foods from all the food groups. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the Balancing Act blog carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found at MealsMatter.
It’s time parents toughened up! I have met many parents who have unwittingly and gradually become ‘short-order cooks’. Some parents make up to four different meals each night to keep the kids happy and have mealtime peace.
Whilst I understand how and why it happens, I can’t comprehend why you would want to do this. Surely the time spent making different meals would be better spent reading a story, helping with homework or playing with the children. Actually, most parents don’t want to do it; they just don’t realize that there is an option.
The ultimate aim is for the family to eat the same food. We all need to make good food choices, and that means a variety of food from each of the four food group. If a child’s palate becomes too narrow they simply will not get all the nutrients their body needs. By allowing a child to totally dictate what they eat parents can unknowingly be limiting their children’s growth and development – not to mention their sociabilty. Some kids left to their own choice would settle for about a dozen foods and that is not good! Be kind to yourself by not excessively pampering to likes and dislikes. Imagine how much easier it would be to make only one meal. It’s okay for you to set the rules! This is a win:win – it’s easier for parents to fix one meal, and the kids get better nutrition.
A word from my daughter Claire… (Claire’s website is www.ItsMyTurnToCookTonight.com)
In our family we always eat the same food, unless if we really really don’t like something. It’s just what we do and it’s always been like that. We clean our teeth, we look both ways before we cross the road, we wear seatbelts, we eat our vegetables and we eat the same food. It’s one of those things that has never come up for debate.
And while we are on the ‘toughen up’ theme, I totally recommend that at least once a week you over-ride any child objections and use the off button on the television set. The benefits are immediate.
I love family dinners and I am never happier than when I have my husband and children around the family table. We turn the TV off and it’s the time when as a family, we regroup. Often the food seems insignificant, it is the process of sharing time together without distraction that is important.
There is banter between the kids as we catch up with each other about what we are all doing. We are not all home every night because of school, sport or work commitments, but we make a point of whoever is at home eats together.
By comparison, if the TV is on, it kills the conversation and we miss the luxury of quality time.
So my key tips for Eat Better, Eat Together might seem a bit draconian but I assure you, eating the same food (giving two choices!!) and turning off the TV at mealtime will make more impact than you think.
PS: I know the other bloggers in the carnival will focus in more detail on the actual food, it goes without saying that we need to focus on that. I just think it is so important the scene is set right as well!!
Don’t stop here! Other bloggers share their stories and tips on how they juggle the balancing act of getting a well-balanced meal on the table!
10 Commandments for Guilt-Free Feeding – Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD
Beating the Lunch Box Blues – Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Dinner Time – Michelle Rowe, RN and Health Educator
Eat Better, Eat Together– Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Family Dinners Fuel Healthier Kids – Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN
Families that Cook Together Eat Together – Kia Robertson
Making Time for Family Meals: How I’ve Earned My “RDH” – Trina Robertson, MS, RD
Meal Planning: Taking the Stress Out of the ‘What’s for Dinner’– Laura Everage
Pressed for Time? Moms Know Best: Tips for Getting Food on the Table – FAST! – Samantha Lewandowski, MS, RD, LDN
Roasted Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal – Cheri Liefeld
Sunday Night Family Dinner, In the Dining Room – Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
The Balancing Act – Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
The Power of Family Meal Time & How to Squeeze It In! – Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
The Truth About Family Dinner – Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Toughen up: Give Two Choices for Dinner – Take it or Leave it! – Glenda Gourley BHSc, Dip Tchg
I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat, Play, Love blog carnival hosted by Meals Matter and Dairy Council of California to share ideas on positive and fun ways to teach children healthy eating habits. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found on Meals Matter.
As parents, we intuitively want to do the best for our kids - and often we start off with great gusto only to run out of steam if what we are doing isn’t getting great results. I ran a couple of focus groups with teens to find out the sort of things we could do to make them want want to cook. What we found out was seriously enlightening, somewhat amusing and really helpful!
We discovered eight key points… (I still struggle to keep a straight face when I recall how deadly serious they were!?!) These points could verge on being precocious – but it certainly helps us as parents if we know what they are thinking!
In their words, this is what parents should do…
1. Let me choose what I cook – “Simple – if I don’t like it, I’m not going to want to cook it”.
2. Get me a recipe that works – “If I go to the effort of cooking I want it to work… I don’t want have to have to keep running to you to ask what to do next”.
3. Have all the ingredients - “Don’t expect me to be able to substitute ingredients when I am just starting off on this cooking lark!”
4. Stay out of the kitchen – “Don’t be a helicopter hovering around. Give me some space to work things out – but stick around the house in case I need to ask”.
5. Resist ‘you should have’ comments’ – “If I want to know I’ll ask”.
6. Be impressed – “If you expect me to do this again you need to be impressed , so you might have to ‘fake it ‘til I make it’. And don’t go telling all your friends if I burn something or do something stupid”.
7. Don’t nag – “If I take a bit longer than you do or I don’t clean up exactly like you do, cut me some slack – I have just cooked you a meal!”
8. Cut me a deal! – “If you expect me to buy into this ‘cook a meal once a week idea’ there has to be something in it for me . This ‘skills for a lifetime’ doesn’t really flick my switch – but money for the movies or that new dress does. You are probably going to buy me new shoes at some stage anyway, you may as well make me think I have earned them.”
I am totally convinced of the benefits of kids being able to cook.Your child doesn’t need to be a budding chef, even a repertoire of half a dozen meals sets them well ahead of many kids.
Being able to cook will help to set your child up to take responsibility for what they eat. The fantastic bonus is that every time they cook, you can get a night off cooking and they get skills to last a lifetime - a win:win for everyone!!
Don't stop here! Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don't get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.
The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum Flavor, Dayle Hayes, MS, RD
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order Cook, Christy Slaughter
Cut to the Point – My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them Cooking, Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Guierin, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along? , Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters: Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family Eating, Connie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Soccer Mom Soapbox, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give UpDiane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About Eating Mindfully, Michelle May, MD
Special Recent Posts
The last School Holiday Program was a crammed with fun and learning as kids got more food savvy!