Monday, October 17, 2011

Family Style Dinners: What's This?

This week marks the 2nd annual Healthy Kids, Healthy WV event.  Groups from across the state are partnering together to bring awareness to our childhood obesity epidemic.  Generation Putnam is hosting a unique workshop designed to show parents how to deal with picky eaters and how to serve a family style meal.  Serve a what?

I know what you're thinking.  Most of us make childs plate in advance.  We fill it with all the things we think they should have, we proudly serve them with our masterpiece, and then hope for the best.  Family style meals are totally different.  In this case, kids essentially learn to serve themselves.  Skeptical?  Here's why this works:
  1. Children begin to learn proper table etiquette.  "Please" and "thank you" are biggies.  Sharing is another great lesson learned from this approach.  If fully implemented, children also learn how to make their drinks, set the table and clear their dishes at the end of the meal. 
  2. Children begin to learn about portion size.  They determine what and how much they can eat.   Clearly this prevents waste, gets the child in tune with their hunger and fullness ques, and encourages independence.  
  3. As the foods are passed around the table, mom can talk about the benefits of each item and why the child should try it.   
It's really a complete twist on the dinner experience that so many families experience, but the logic is perfect.  Promoting table manners, encouraging independence, and reinforcing healthy eating benefits. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

The Healthy Kids, Inc. crew will be on hand to film a family style meal in action.  Stay tuned for a video update next week. 

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