Anne is the Coordinator of the MA Children at Play Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
When you have kids, pulling together a family meal can get stressful. Yet starting good eating habits while kids are still young can lead to a lifetime of healthy eating. That’s why its important to set the stage early for kids to enjoy mealtimes and have a good relationship with food. As a parent, you have the ability to make meals less stressful for you and more fun for the whole family!
Allow enough time: There’s nothing fun about a rushed meal. Set aside at least 20 minutes for the family meal. That will give you and your family plenty of time to relax, try different foods, and talk about things that matter to you.
Let the kids help: Asking your kids to get involved not only will help you, but it helps them become more interested in their food and the meal. Let kids make some choice about foods to be served, or allow them to help you shop for food and help with some simple preparation. Having kids help set the table is another easy way to get them involved. Take it a step further by helping them make a placemat with their own decorations and art work!
Turn off the TV and computer: Watching TV during a meal makes it harder to talk as a family. Turning it off allows you to have pleasant discussions about the days events. Distractions like TV, phones or computer games also make it harder to pay attention to what and how much you’re eating. If you like to have some background noise, turn on quiet music during the meal.
Sit Down: Something I know all too well is that Mom is almost always the last one to get her food and sit down. Time things as best as you can so that you sit at the table with everyone else – it makes for a better experience for everyone.
Be a Role Model: Most important to remember is that you’re teaching your children habits that will most likely stay with them for the rest of their lives. Be a role model by eating some healthy food choices at the meal, putting your phone away, and being fully present at the meal.
So sit down, relax, and enjoy family meal time. You'll not only be spending quality time with your family, you'll also be shaping their long-lasting relationship with food.
Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference posted on Jul 25
In the six years from 2008 through 2013, 356 workers died on the job in Massachusetts. This is about one worker every five days! The MDPH CFOI and MA FACE projects developed this infographic to illustrate these tragic worker deaths and to underscore the human costs …Continue Reading Some Workers Face Higher Risk of Injury – But Employers Can Make a Difference
Making Your Summer POP! posted on Jul 19
Few things are better than an ice-cold popsicle on a hot summer day! I have vivid memories from my childhood running around through the sprinkler and various neighbors’ yards enjoying the summer sun. At that age, having a messy red ring around your mouth from …Continue Reading Making Your Summer POP!
Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces posted on Jul 18
Wellness programs are good for business. They can lead to better performing workers, lower absenteeism and decreased healthcare and insurance costs. Now, small businesses can be rewarded for these efforts! The Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Incentive gives small businesses in Massachusetts a state tax credit …Continue Reading Massachusetts is Rewarding Small Businesses for Healthy Workplaces