Being at home more often can create meal prepping fatigue. As Americans continue to navigate COVID19, making every single, daily, for all family members is a real possibility. Sometimes it might feel like you never leave the kitchen. One way to ease mealtime burdens is to solicit help from your family members. For instance, if your kids were packing their lunches for school, have them prepare their lunches at home. The end results may be a little odd, but they usually will include a variety of food groups in adequate portion sizes that will leave your child feeling satisfied. Research shows that things like packing their own lunches and helping to choose a dinner theme, improve independence and build confidence in kids. In addition, by letting them pick the foods and amounts they want to eat, you are teaching them early on to trust their bodies. There will be opportunities for you to guide and provide good food knowledge. For instance, if you notice there's always a certain food group missing, use neutral words to encourage the addition of that food group. One example of neutral language is, “I noticed you don't usually put any vegetables on your plate." Phrasing in this manner, affords an open dialogue that may provide insight. In this example, you may come to find out that there aren't any vegetables your children like that are cut up, and they are not confident chopping those vegetables by themselves. With this knowledge, you can troubleshoot the concern. We encourage having at least a little something from all the food groups on the plate for variety and to ensure that kids are getting all the nutrients they need. However, not every meal needs to be perfect. It is our choices that add up over time that determine our health, not one meal or one day.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.