Family Favourite Meals: Meal Planning for the Family

The way we talk about and act around food at mealtimes can actually have long lasting effects on how our children’s relationships with food develop. We also know from research that children’s eating behaviours and patterns of eating track. So the kinds of foods they eat when they are younger (babies even!) really can make a difference to how they eat as they get older too.

According to research collated by Stokke the top 3 family favourite meals were – links to recipes so that baby can enjoy have been provided by leading toddler and child nutritionist, author, Charlotte Stirling-Reed:

  1. Roast Dinner
  2. Spaghetti Bolognese
  3. Pizza

Charlotte commented, “It is not uncommon for parents to worry about the nutritional value of the food they are serving their children and little ones. The food children and babies eat when they are younger can really make a difference on how they eat as they get older. However, it’s important for parents to keep the pressure off for everyone, including themselves. Think about what’s eaten over a week, not day to day and avoid coaxing little ones to eat or ensuring kids stay at the table until they’ve finished the meal. All of this can impose negative associations around foods which is ultimately what we want to avoid if we’re trying to create little foodies.”

Charlotte also shares her top three mealtime routines for parents:

  1. Eat together, where possible – Sitting together and being present at mealtimes helps, but actually eating similar things can also help children to accept a wider variety. Some research shows that families eating together is a big factor in positively influencing the diets of their children, so as much as you can try to ROLEMODEL what a balanced diet looks like, and it’s likely your little ones will follow suit. Remember babies also learn the WHAT and the HOW of eating from copying their parents and those around them too, which is why I love the Stokke Tripp Trapp as a great way to bring baby right to the table with you at mealtimes.
  • Make the environment enjoyable – Making the mealtime environment fun and enjoyable for all can be KEY to having children who actually want to be a part of the family meals and also eat the foods you’ve got on offer. Try to keep mealtimes light and avoid negative topics as much as possible. Play some soft music and avoid it becoming a negative space that the kids are eager to avoid. It’s easier said than done, but sometimes stepping back from the table and observing where a few little tweaks can be made is all that’s needed.
  • Get them involved in mealtimes – Not only does building this into your evening routine give parents a bit of a break, but again getting them involved helps them to feel more “part of it” and can make mealtimes more of an occasion. Ask for help with laying, mixing, serving or (dare we say it) clearing up at the end of the meal.

Stokke are hosting a FREE weaning webinar – How to raise a confident foodie and help your baby love their broccoli as much as their cake! Charlotte Stirling-Reed Nutritionist and Author will be on Zoom 28th April at 8pm. Book your ticket here.

Expert nutritional advice from Charlotte Stirling-Reed, author of new book “How to wean your baby”, that publishes on 29th April, available for pre-order here. @sr_nutrition

Stokke is a leading high end baby brand in Scandinavia whose ethos is to nurture family bonding, having your baby closer to you and the importance of eye contact. The iconic Tripp Trapp® highchair was launched in 1972 and has since sold more than 12 million worldwide. www.stokke.com @stokkebaby

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