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6 tips to making family mealtimes less of a struggle

Dinnertimes with young children are not easy. If you have picky eaters, it often turns into a fight full of tears. And yelling: "please just take 1 bite!"

Even with older kids - throw in work schedules and kid's activities every night of the week. And teens that would rather hang out with their friends and it becomes more challenging still.

And then there's the challenge of just getting dinner on the table in the first place. The planning, shopping and cooking.  And it's tough to please everyone with your choice, right?!

Yet family meals are so important. They lower your kid's chances of developing an eating disorder, increase grades in school, provide a more nutritious diet and decrease the chance that they will be involved in violence or drug abuse. For more info on the benefits of family meals, check out my blog here.

So today I want to share a few tips to make family meals work for you:

1) It doesn't have to be dinner

You can have breakfast or lunch together, if that fits with your schedule best.

As long as you can manage to sit down with your kiddos three times a week, they will benefit.

2) It doesn't have to be at home, or around the kitchen table

If you're off to watch a kid's baseball game, you can bring sandwiches or food in thermoses.

Throw down a picnic blanket any summer night of the week to save the indoor mess!

3) Have a plan for the food

Having at least a rough idea of what you're having for dinner every night is a sanity saver. And not only sanity, but time and money too. Here are my top 5 reasons why meal planning will help.

4) Don't make meals a fight

Especially if you have a picky eater. Forcing them to try the vegetable or eat three bites just stresses everyone out.

We're trying to keep the dinner table as peaceful as possible for everyone! Here are some more tips if you struggle with picky eaters.

5) Get kids involved in cooking, setting the table and tidying up

Kids take great pride in cooking up a dish for the family to try. Especially if your kids are older, they can have a night of the week to cook. This also provides them with a very important skill for when they're off on their own.

6) Serve family-style meals

Family style meals are when all of the foods offered for a meal are placed in the centre of the table. Everyone gets to choose what to put on their own plate, and how much.

This is in contrast to serving your child’s food already plated. Which almost immediately starts the: "yuck, I don't like that’s". By allowing your child to choose what to put on their plate, it results in less complaining. 

If you have any other tips that help you make dinnertime easier, please comment below!

And hop over to my Nourished Family facebook group for recipe ideas and more tips on meal planning and feeding picky eaters.

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