I always knew eating at the table with my family was important . ..
But I didn’t realize it would be this important.
Getting the urban farm ready for sale, our place has been a construction zone as of late. Our dining room, in particular, has been a bit of a war zone. As a result, the highchair and our dinners have moved into the living room.
I didn’t think much of it, to be honest. It’s temporary and necessary.
And then my mother mentioned that my son had suddenly stopped eating his veggies at her place.
Seemingly overnight, my voracious, decidedly omnivorous 13 month old went from eating anything and everything that was placed in front of him to a downright stubborn, picky little bugger.
If you read along with me regularly, you’ll know that I feel pretty strongly about what my son eats : ( See Real Kids, Real Food. )
Of course, I’ve taken it personally.
I thought well – he knows what he likes now. Given the choice he’ll eat meat and potatoes till the cows come home, never mind those carrots and broccoli, even if they are slathered in butter.
What can I say. He’s his father’s son.
Last night, I realized there was more to it.
We’re done the last minute pre-sale renovations and have moved back to the family table for dinner.
My son is now watching his father, rather than the Discovery Channel, during dinner.
Lo and behold, he’s eating his veggies again. Just like that.
Common sense tells me eating at the table together is good for my family, and that eating in front of the TV is not. I grew up in a home where dinner was a family affair and am convinced of the social as well as nutritional benefits. But I never would have guessed that the implications could be so stark and so immediate.
Something as simple as wanting to be like Dad, watching and mimicking habits and behaviours – being given the opportunity to pay attention, made the difference between healthy eating and a picky little beast of a boy.
I had to laugh last night as my baby devoured a meal of pork chops and veggie stir fry. Daddy pretended to slowly eat a piece of veg and my son would promptly reach out and sneak it off his fork, popping it into his mouth and howling with laughter, having “stolen” Daddy’s bite.
He watches my hubby like a hawk each meal and even the firmest of “No”s quickly turn to “MMMM”s the moment he sees the offending food move to Daddy’s lips.
It makes me realize that although there is an entire industry of evil people trying to convince us that Fruit Loops and Coco Puffs really are “health foods” (and I’d argue they’re not really food at all) . . . We have a lot more power as parents in this war than we think.
All we have to do is turn off the TV, pull up a chair with our kids and dig in.
- A family who eats together, eats better (life.nationalpost.com)