Serena Caner, registered dietician

Column: Reducing mealtime stress for parents

Dear Ayla,

The other night when you said dinner looked yucky and threw it on the floor, you hurt my feelings. You see, I work hard every evening to cook you healthy meals that will make your body strong and protect you against chronic disease. I try my best to make them appealing and tasty, but they will not always be your favourite. Next time, please eat it politely and keep your thoughts to yourself.

Thank you.


Feeding children can be a demoralizing experience. Especially between the ages of two and four. But there is light at the end of the tunnel: children do learn to eat and mealtimes do get easier. Here are some strategies for survival:

Be Prepared: Getting home at six o’clock to children who needed to eat half an hour ago is not the night you decide to introduce a new recipe with brown rice.

It also doesn’t have to mean fast food. This is a good night to have planned left-overs, assembly meals (you’ve pre-cut all the ingredients, and now just have to throw them together), or eggs and toast.

Yes, I am recommending that you make a meal plan for your week, that reflects the time you have each day to cook.

Make sure your kids are hungry. Hungry kids are always better eaters. Sometimes poor behaviour at supper results from too much snacking after school.

Overtired children?: Today’s world was not created with children’s best interests at heart. Are you trying to fit too many activities into your day?

Children (and parents) eat better when they are relaxed and rested. Consider making your life less scheduled.

Check-in with yourself: Stressed parents usually result in stressed children. If patience is gone by dinner time, find a strategy for self-regulation. This could mean enjoying a glass of wine, allowing yourself some space from your children while you cook dinner, or, worst-case scenario, locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes of meditation!

Choose one or two meal time rules and stick to them. Consistency is a very important aspect of parenting. What dinnertime behaviours are important to you?

-Serena Caner is a registered dietitian who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

Just Posted

CP Rail train derailed near Field, B.C.

There was no threat to public safety and no injuries: CP Rail

ALR review may not be open-minded

Past agriculture minister Norm Letnick skeptical of NDP approach

Technology Meet Up showcases full range of tech-industry careers in the Shuswap

Salmon Arm Economic Development Society spotlights high-tech frontrunners

Documentary features Salmon Arm cinema

Out of the Interior shines a spotlight on the Salmar Classic

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into second place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Evangelist Billy Graham has died at 99

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Most Read