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Fall is here!  While the changing leaves and crisp air feel great, it’s also a busy time as we adjust from a laid-back summer to too many schedules to keep track of!  Many of you might find that at this time of year dinner time takes a backseat to everything else on your to-do list.

In many homes, dinner time doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned.  That’s understandable because we all know how difficult it can be to get your family in one place, with dinner prepared… oh, and don’t forget about the time you need to sit down and actually eat it!

You might be surprised to know that family mealtimes can make a pretty great impact on your children!

A recent study found that positive meal times with a happy and warm setting resulted in preschoolers consuming more healthy foods at dinner than households that didn’t have a positive environment. In fact, these kids ate about 1 more serving of fruit or vegetables during positive meal times!

So, you might be wondering how you can help your little ones eat a few more green beans tonight.  The researcher from this study offers a few tips to help make dinner time a happy time:

  1. Kids love routines! Try to eat at the same time and in the same room each day.
  2. Have the kids help! Give them each a task such as setting the table or something else depending on their age.
  3. Encourage your kids to share their feelings with words and not yelling.
  4. Don’t force kids to eat anything. It may take a few times of placing it on their plate before they eat it.
  5. Stay calm! Being patient can help to set a positive tone, even if everyone is feeling stressed after a long day.
  6. Be positive and remember that family mealtimes are a chance to have fun and come together!

Do you have other ideas for making family meals fun?  Share your tips with us!

Written By:

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

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