Tips to make sure mealtimes are a good experience for families

  1. Make mealtimes calm and relaxed
  • You (as the parent) decide what, when, and where your child eats
  • Your child decides how much they eat, or if they eat at all
  1. Don’t coax or bride your child to eat
  2. Meals should only last up to 30 minutes
  • After this meals can become tasking and often won’t eat more
  1. Eat together as a family
  • Eating as a family promotes good health and wellbeing in children
  • Gives them a chance to see how adults eat, ands encourages them to try new foods
  • Remove distractions such as screens and devices
  1. Offer meals at regular times
  • Children need 3 meals and 2-3 snacks in between per day, with water or milk in between
  • Don’t offer extra snacks in between – they stop children eating well during their main meals and can be low in nutrition
  • By having food available at regular times, children can learn to listen to their hunger cues
  1. Let your child be messy when they eat
  • Wait until the end of their meal before you clean hands and face
  1. Offer a variety of foods that have different tastes, colours, and textures
  • You can let your child feed themselves through finger foods, appropriate for their age
  • Also give them a fork and/or spoon
  • You can let them choose parts of the meal from two options
  1. Be mindful about how you talk about different foods
  • Children will eat what is familiar and tasty
  • Try not to label food as “good” or “bad”, “treats” or “junk”
  1. If your child starts turning away, shaking their head or closing their mouth, it means they are full and the meal is at an end
  2. Don’t give up if your child does not want to eat a new food
  • When offering new foods, try introducing them with a combination of food they are familiar with
  • Make sure the child sees you trying new foods
  • It can take 20 or 30 tries to get them to eat new foods
  • Keep offering and stay patient
  1. Rejecting food is a normal developmental behaviour
  2. You do not need to meet all their nutritional needs today
  • Think about meeting their needs over the week


Adapted by: Lively Eaters

Source used: (Rachel Lindeback)