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Making the Most of Mealtimes

An Asian family, an adult male and female are seated around a table eating a meal with a young female standing in between the
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Meals can be stressful and trying to make them a positive experience for little ones can be challenging.

  • If you’re having a hard time accessing a variety of foods, or your child is insisting on only eating pasta right now, it’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself or your child. Do your best and offer your child some healthy options when you can.
  • Let your child feel like they have some control in what they eat by giving them choices that you are okay with: “Do you want apples and cheese, or banana and peanut butter for a snack?”
  • Do your best to eat your meals together. Some people and some families “graze” or snack more often and don’t always sit down for big meals. Having some structure and routine helps children know what to expect and feel more secure.
  • Mealtimes are a great time to connect with your child: “What was your favourite part of the day?”

Here are some ideas to making meal-times fun:

1 — Have an indoor picnic

  • Clear a space on your floor, get a blanket or a sheet and have a little picnic at home!
  • Pack your food up in reusable to-go containers, or your child’s school lunchbox, just as if you were going on a picnic outside. You can get your child to help you in choosing what to eat and putting everything together.
  • Dress up in picnic clothes! You can let your child choose their favourite hat, sunglasses, etc to wear for your picnic.
  • Try a teddy bear picnic. Have your child “invite” their stuffed animals to the picnic and share your meal with all their favourite toys.
  • Try a picnic in a blanket fort. If you have enough sheets and blankets you can build a little fort/tent and eat in inside that!

2 — Breakfast for dinner…or dinner for breakfast

  • Cereal is the easiest meal to prepare — no cooking!
  • “Let’s do something silly and eat breakfast for dinner!”
  • “Do you want to help me pour the cereal into the bowl, or the milk?”
  • Have your child decorate the toast with chopped bananas or fruit.

3 — Enjoy a themed meal together

  • Dress up as your favourite character.
  • Have a birthday party for a beloved stuffed animal.
  • Use food colouring to have a rainbow or a blue lunch by adding some colour to your food. Involve your child — they may have fun making green mac n cheese.
Photo by kazuend on Unsplash




A resource for families focusing on activities for children, parent education and self-care. Our goal is to help strengthen the parent child relationship & ensure children are nurtured, youth find optimism, adults feel empowered and parents make choices that build strong families

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