LANA:
Learning About Nutrition Through Activities

Tips for Positive Mealtime Interactions

Encourage through words:

  • Encourage children to taste a variety of foods
  • Praise and reinforce children for trying and tasting f/v
  • Understand consequences of bribing, forcing or rewarding children
    • Rewards can backfire – devalue vegetable and increase value of the reward
    • Nagging or cajoling can increase resistance to new or desired food
  • Identify and emphasize fruit and vegetable choices at meals

Encourage through behavior:

  • Model positive eating habits (eating f/v)
    • Actions speak louder than words – children are aware of what adults do and say
    • A positive role model can help a child overcome their hesitation to try foods
  • Eat meals and snacks with children
  • Serve/offer age appropriate portions to children
  • Understand “normal” childhood eating behaviors
    • Expect food waste
    • Irregular eating habits
    • Expect spills and a mess
    • There will be squirming
  • Involve children in meal preparation (age appropriate tasks)

Encourage through the environment:

  • Offer f/v every day at breakfast, lunch and snack
  • Substitute or reduce availability of foods that compete with f/v
  • Offer repeated opportunities for children to try new f/v
  • Create a calm and supportive meal time environment
    • Reduce distractions during meals
        • No T.V. or videos during meals
        • No distracting loud/active music
    • Create regular, structured mealtime routines
    • Promote positive conversation at meals
    • Encourage and allow children to eat at their own pace
    • Promote good table manners
  • Encourage children to serve themselves and regulate their own food intake
Division of Responsibility for Feeding Children

Adults are responsible for:

*What food is offered
*When food is offered
*Where food is offered

Children are responsible for:

*How much food is eaten
*Whether they eat

 

Tips for Positive Mealtime Interactions (pdf/1pg 69kb)

Updated Wednesday, 10-Apr-2013 11:21:33 CDT