Education and nutrition: Do children always have to try every meal?

Try instead of study: more fun at family dinners
Soup and fidget philipp - the idiosyncratic eating behavior of our offspring was already a well-known phenomenon in the 19th century. Experts discussed how family meals can succeed at the Stuttgart Slow Food Fair. While fussy and restless children have always made family dinners difficult, nowadays worried to over-anxious parents are added: Does my child eat too much or too little; does it tolerate this or that food at all? This is particularly the question of modern mothers and seek advice in a flood of educational guides.

The experts, on the other hand, recommend that parents ponder less and try more. "We should make our children want new foods: gardening, shopping and cooking together," advises Sigrid Fellmeth, BeKi specialist for child nutrition in Mannheim (BeKi = conscious child nutrition, Baden-Württemberg state initiative). The children should feel, smell and taste a lot. Eating is a sensual experience and not a matter of the head. »Children simply need time and rest to develop healthy eating habits. They often have phases with certain preferences, such as spaghetti with tomato sauce, which then disappear again, «explains Fellmeth. Therefore, the most important recipe for unsettled parents is to stay calm. Tensions and insecurities spread to the children and hit everyone in the stomach.

It is even more important, however, that all family members come to a table regularly. At least elementary school children can unload their ballast from school at lunch. Since then both parents have been working in more and more families, people eat less together and if they do, they eat more in the evening. "But at least half of all working parents gather at the dining table once a day," says Professor Lotte Rose from the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. The older the children are, the more difficult it becomes.

The young people have more and more appointments and want to be autonomous. To exercise coercion would be out of place. »When it comes to eating, we sometimes struggle with the self-determination that our children normally take for granted. But it can be an important place to learn democracy. That means: children should be allowed to bring their ideas about food. Parents should justify their positions and negotiate compromises, ”recommends nutritionist Rose. Otherwise the following applies: The atmosphere must be right. Otherwise the best food doesn't taste good. Jutta Schneider-Rapp, respectively

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