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Kids and mealtime:

Mealtime doesn't have to be a problem - just remember who they're watching most!
By Jill Castle
Date: June 25 2013
Tags: food, children, recipe,
Editor Rating:

As a mother of four children and a child nutrition expert working with children and their families, I live and breathe “mealtime” - the drama, the dynamic and the dilemma of keeping meals healthy and a positive experience for everyone.

Undeniably, parents have a powerful role in guiding their children to a healthy lifestyle, and this begins at the meal table.

To help you be a guide for your children, here are seven principles worth remembering. I hope they’re of help to you.

1.  Eating together increases the likelihood of healthy eating

Joining together at the family meal table is your best defence against picky eating, obesity and eating disorders and your best bet for a healthy weight, good grades and social stability.

2.  Kids can stop eating when they are satisfied

My 9-year old son is a master at stopping when he’s full. He’s not always right, but with a predictable meal routine, he’s learning to become self-aware, self-regulated and a healthy eater.

3.  Kids pleasantly surprise you with their eating

My 14 ½-year old daughter ordered the hummus salad plate at a local eatery, independently. My neighbour’s daughter was a “picky eater,” but when offered family-style meals, she made better choices and was less picky. Kids are ever-changing, so don’t give up on them.

4.  Kids are able to make good food choices

Given a consistent and positive mealtime environment (free of conflict, full of good nutrition and authoritative in style), kids evolve into great eaters. Take note: this can take a whole childhood to accomplish!

5.  When it comes to eating, kids aren’t created equally

My four kids each have their own eating style. I have two “grazers”, a “square meal” child and a “foodie.” Getting a predictable meal and snack schedule on board is the only way I know how to match everyone’s eating personality.

6.  Friendly interaction beats pressure

Kids do better with eating when the conversation and mealtime vibe is fun, light and supportive - and not about food or eating performance.

7.  Kids will follow the leader

I know if I do my part with feeding, such as getting meals on the table in a timely fashion and serving a balanced and healthy meal with foods from all five food groups, my kids will do their part with eating.

Admittedly, it’s rewarding when a child makes a good food choice or surprises you with liking a new food. Don’t miss these moments: get the first row tickets at your meal table!


Here’s a recipe for Creamy Potato Soup that’s low in calories, low in fat and something kids usually love! It’s a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.


3 slices smoked bacon (finely chopped)
1 onion, chopped
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped carrots
1 teaspoon garlic powder or a small clove of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups reduced fat milk
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¾ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste



1.  In a large pot, saute bacon until cooked through. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic and parsley and cook in the bacon juice until tender. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add broth slowly, stirring as you add.

2.  Add milk, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, thyme, seasoning salt, and dry white wine. Allow to simmer and thicken, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. If soup is too thick, add a little more milk until you get your desired consistency. Garnish with cheese and serve warm.

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