Clean your plate! (If you want to…)

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There’s a lot of information floating around on the internet these days, much of it has to do with how to raise our kids.

At Little Bellies, we’re all about making dinnertime easier on the parents, AND the kids. So I wanted to share this article I found. I really like this advice. It says:

When it comes to feeding little kids, adults know best. But some nutritionists now argue that children could also benefit from a bit of autonomy at mealtimes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that parents let kids as young as 2 years old serve themselves at home. And in 2011, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advised that child care providers should serve meals “family-style” — present kids with a few different dishes and allow them to take what they want.

Why? Because there’s now research showing that when kids are allowed to serve themselves, they’re less likely to overeat. They also tend to be more open to trying different kinds of foods.

We do this in our house as often as we can.

If I serve a meal up onto individual plates I feel like I’m imposing my own interpretation of how much everyone ‘should’ be eating. But that’s listening to MY hunger, not theirs. I prefer to serve up say, a lasagne and salad, or tacos and a whole bunch of fillings, and let everyone serve themselves. I find my boys eat a good range of foods, and more of it, when they have control over their own meals. (Really, they don’t because I have still decided what to serve! Ha ha! Shh, don’t tell them…)

And we’re all a lot happier at the dinner table. Which is the whole point.

Do you eat your meals ‘family style’? Please leave a comment with your favourite meal to serve – we all need some more ideas!

Chicken taco image courtesy Taste.com.au. Head here for the recipe.

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