5 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Family Mealtimes

As parents, we try our hardest to ensure our kids follow a healthy, balanced diet. You’re the adult, meaning it’s your responsibility to set a good example to your children when mealtime arrives. Whether you enjoy cooking or not, the stress and pressure associated with cooking a wholesome meal can take its toll and spoil what is meant to be a time to bond with your loved ones.

Here are five things you can do to eliminate any stress out of family mealtimes and avoid any tantrums at the table.

Cut Corners

Many parents don’t have the time to slave away in the kitchen and cook up meals, whether it’s for themselves or their kids. If this sounds like you, you may want to read reviews of a meal delivery service that will ensure your children are eating tasty, nutritious foods without the worry of having to cook and make the dish yourself – you can check them out first to avoid making a bad decision.

Rather than having takeaways on speed dial or heading to the grocery store, meal delivery services have become increasingly popular as a healthy, fun, and affordable alternative. If you choose to go down this route, make sure you speak to your kids first about what kinds of foods they like to eat.

Encourage New Foods

If your child is a fussy eater, mealtime can be more stressful than it needs to be. Children aren’t born picky, so being adventurous with food and letting them try new things will broaden their palette and make them interested in mealtime. Giving your child more choice rather than handing them a plate full of food is key for keeping your children engaged.

The last thing you want is for your child to throw a tantrum because they don’t like what they see on their plate. Getting them used to different foods and being patient as they try new cuisines will help them enormously through their childhood and beyond. If your kids are being fussy, try and put yourself in their shoes. It’s likely that you’ll have had some foods that you weren’t keen on when you were little, so don’t stop encouraging your kids to try new things. This will help them feel more at ease with what they eat and can help them in other aspects of their life. You may even want to consider growing your own food that your kids can get involved with.

Time It Well

Children only have little stomachs and get hungry much quicker than you would think. Therefore, when it comes to mealtime and making a delicious meal, make sure you time things well so they’re not waiting around. The longer your kids have to wait for dinner, the more chance there is of them having a tantrum and acting out of character.

If you plan to cook something that will take a while, it’s best to plan ahead and get yourself organized, otherwise you will spend more time at the kitchen counter than you would like to. A lot of kids don’t understand the concept of time and being patient, so having things ready and raring to go will take the stress away.

Eat Around the Table

Eating around the table as a family unit can benefit your children in more ways than you thought possible. While you may tuck into food on the couch from time to time, it’s best to treat mealtime as an opportunity to socialize with your kids. Once your kids get into the routine of being sat at the table, they won’t see the action as a chore. Understandably, many kids will be itching to get away from the table and play, but showing them the importance of sitting and eating together will pay off as they get older.

Remove Distractions

While technology has been a blessing in some ways, iPads and smartphones can be a nuisance when mealtime comes around. If your kids are old enough to use a tablet, they shouldn’t be bringing it to the table and using it as they eat. Distractions like this won’t help your kids in terms of being socialable and present at the table.

Although your kids may kick up a fuss to begin with, you must ensure there are no distractions at the table. This means you too, so make sure you put your smartphone out of sight and out of mind. If you’re the type of person who is glued to their phone, whether it’s for work purposes or speaking to friends, you won’t feel relaxed if you’re constantly checking your texts and emails.

Whether you work long hours or you’re a stay-at-home parent, once the sun sets and mealtime arrives, the last thing you want is for any tempers to rise. Following the advice above and putting the tips into practice can transform the way your family eats for the better, allowing you to build and retain solid relationships with your kids.