If I could wave my magic wand to erase one parenting concern, it would be the issue of food. When should my child eat? What should my child eat? How much should my child eat? We measure servings, count bites, and worry way too much.
But here’s the only thing you really need to know:
The parent’s job is to offer children healthy food 4-6 times a day.
The child’s job is to eat when hungry.
We need to teach our children about nutrition, about moderation, and to make healthy food choices. It’s should be about health, not quantity. Even the pickiest young eater will learn to appreciate more foods as they grow up. Serve all children a wide variety of foods at every age, let your children see you eating and enjoying many different foods, and don’t turn mealtimes into a battle zone.
Some tips for every age:
Serve one food choice at every meal that you know your child will like so that they eat something
Ask “Are you full?” not “Are you done?”
Think of every meal as family connection time, not a nutritional exercise.
Model healthy eating habits by eating meals with your children.
Ask your kids to participate in meal preparation.
Offer a healthy snack after school before homework. It’s hard to concentrate when hungry.
Allow your kids to control their own food choices within reason.
A granola bar in the car is better than nothing for breakfast.
Eat dinner together as often as possible.