Many of you have asked about how to cook and eat with kids whilst keeping it healthy, calm and enjoyable! It is possible, but if bad habits have crept in it may not be easy, so let's look at some ways to encourage kids and support your diet decisions. We hope you enjoy these suggestions and some pictures of our favourite family dishes.
* Show pleasure in your cooking, however simple, and get the kids to help in the food prep and table setting. This gives kids ownership of the meal ahead. Make something similar for everyone and sit down together to eat.
* If little ones decide they are not going to like it before even trying their food keep your language positive, encouraging them to try everything, then move the subject on!
* Gently remind those that haven't eaten properly that they will next time, focus on the items on the plate that you have enjoyed and that siblings have liked.
* Use language carefully 'it's a shame you didn't like it, never mind' or 'oh I'm surprised you didn't like it, we thought it was delicious'. Saying sorry makes it sound like your fault they didn't like the food, subconsciously telling them that you are wrong and that they could be right by not eating!
* Take kids out to eat when you can and do try exciting foods from around the world - even at home. Creating palette is essential, many of our anti-inflammatory foods come from spices and herbs.
* Don't chastise, scold or force those that are not eating, your negative attention is still attention!! and takes away from those that are eating nicely. One picky eater can inspire another, don't let this happen.
* Don't allow treats before lunch or before tea if these meals were not eaten. They really do not need to stuff their faces in the car between school pick up and tea. Why didn't they eat lunch for the teachers? - because they know your car is stuffed with sweet treats once the bell goes! if they really are very hungry get tea served up earlier and ask for their help to do this.
* Don't rely on tried and trusted recipes, be brave, kids love adventure - have it in the kitchen even if you are not necessarily an experimental eater yourself.
* Make sure the kids all help you with tidying away the plates and pots. I really am shocked how few families put this into practice. Eating well is a collaborative effort - the food didn't magic itself there and the food fairies didn't magic it all away! Maybe a sibling can help a toddler to eat up.