Updated: May 1
Mommy I’m Hungry!!
If you have kids at home, you’ve probably heard this familiar call about 3,000 times already during the COVID-19 crisis.
And you aren’t alone.
We are in this together -– waist deep into this world of self isolation with no end in sight (yet).
As both a mother and dietitian, I appreciate all of the challenges and joys that feeding your children bring you, even on a good day.
I also know that, for the time being, the really good days are a bit harder to come by.
But rest assured, I’m here today to help with that!
I’ve got some fun and easy ways to spice up mealtimes that the whole family will enjoy, and I can’t wait to share them…. But before I do I need to give you one very important piece of advice to help set a boundary that will help mealtimes go more smoothly.
Establish a meal and snack schedule!
Since its our job to decide what and when kids eat, a schedule can help set boundaries and fill our kids up long enough to keep them going until the next meal.
I recommend having about 2.5-4 hours between meals.
Here is a sample meal/snack schedule:
Bedtime snack: depends on when kids go to bed
I will explore the value of keeping a meal schedule in a future blog post, for now let’s get to the fun stuff!
5 Ways To Make Meals More Fun
Offering new foods to kids under 4 can be tricky for a number of reasons, so how about we introduce novel ways to do it and make mealtimes way more fun?
1. Make Believe! My 4 year old loves to use her imagination and play pretend, and she has been in this phase for a while. She loves to wear costumes around the house, so why not have a costume party at mealtime? If parents get involved by wearing funny sunglasses, a fancy tie or tiara – the kids will eat that up and perhaps eat their dinner too.
2. Host A Tea Party! Host a tea party or have stuffed animals/toys join you for dinner. We set them up in their own chair, plastic cutlery and pretend food. My daughter loves it!
3. Take Things Down A Notch – Literally What if you had a meal on the family room floor, instead of at the dinner table? Or an outdoor picnic? Kids love these fun opportunities and the whole family will love the change of scenery.
4. Get Some Kiddy Cutlery Use toddler tongs, fun cutlery, colourful dipping cups, chop sticks or any novel item that can spark their interest at the table. Toddlers love novel items that have to do with eating, which can make them more interested in the food itself. “Can you grab a zucchini slice for mommy with your new tongs?” This allows them to get closer to that new food, without feeling pressured to eat it or put it on their plate.
5. Have cookie cutters lying around? Perfect way to create new shapes with sandwiches, toast and even fruit and vegetables.
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