The eating experience of this Indian-Spiced Butternut Squash soup was completely different for my boys. My middle child lapped it up as he talked about how much he liked it. The youngest and oldest didn’t even try a spoonful. The old me would have encouraged the oldest/youngest to try at least one bite. The new me just enjoyed my own bowl of soup and kept my mouth shut. I didn’t even applaud the middle child for throwing his side of green peas into his soup because he stated “he wanted to add some texture.” My foodie heart swelled with pride.
Let Them Rise to the Eating Occasion
That’s my new mantra. Let them rise to the eating occasion.
- No more nagging, prompting or bribing them to try a bite.
- I’m quitting the games or cheerleading to get them to eat their veggies.
- Forget the pressure to eat the peas.
- Less nutrition lessons on how yogurt makes their bones strong.
What is it that works? What is the one essential ingredient at mealtime (and all areas of parenting, really)? Me! My attention, my presence, my easy-going conversation & me enjoying MY own meal.
September is National Family Meals Month: It’s Not About the Indian-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
While the other two didn’t eat my soup, they did eat their grilled cheese sandwich and grapes. Most parents can whip up a grilled cheese and side of grapes in minutes. As we honor National Family Meals Month, it’s important to note that the benefits of family mealtime aren’t tied to what gets served. What really matters is how it feels to sit down to eat together. If mealtime is a positive experience, it doesn’t matter if it came out of a pizza box, a frozen meal kit or was eaten at Chick-fil-a. Mealtime isn’t just about nutrition – it’s about nurturing.
Break down the barriers of setting your dinner expectations about how “nutritious” your meal is. It’s not about the soup you serve. It’s about prioritizing time to meet as a family to eat. If you have 10 minutes to prep dinner, make eggs and toast. If you’ve got evening soccer practice twice a week, carve out time for family dinner on the other nights. Time spent together at mealtime is more related to the psychological and academic success of kids than time spent in school, studying, church, playing sports or doing art activities (1). And, the secret sauce? It’s simply sitting down together eating whatever, whenever.
Satter, E. (2005). Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming.