Family meals allow young children to focus on the task of eating and give you a chance to model good behaviors. It may take a little work to bring everyone together for meals.
Start eating meals together as a family when your kids are young and it will become a habit. Plan when you will eat together as a family. You may not be able to eat together every day but try to have family meals most days of the week. A meal together doesn't have to be the evening meal. Sometimes lunch may work better for your family. Breakfast together can be a fantastic way to start the day – the Super Strawberry Muffins below would be a great addition!
Cook together. Have your child help you get ready to eat. Your child may be able to:
- Rinse fruits and vegetables.
- Add ingredients.
- Help set the table.
- Turn off the TV.
- Clear the table.
- Wipe the table.
Eat together. Make family meals enjoyable.
- Focus on the meal and each other.
- Turn off the television.
- Take phone calls or texts later.
- Try to make meals a stress-free time.
Talk together. Involve children in the conversation. Ask questions like:
- If you could invite anyone to eat with us today, who would it be?
- What made you feel really happy today?
- What's your favorite crunchy food? Why?
- What made you laugh today?
Super Strawberry Muffins
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 cup strawberry applesauce (no added sugar)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries, gently rubbed under cold running water
- 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
- Wash hands with soap and water. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Break egg into a small bowl. Wash hands with soap and water after cracking raw egg. Mix together oil, brown sugar, applesauce, and egg.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix until moistened.
- Carefully blend in strawberries and oatmeal.
- Spoon into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray or use paper muffin liners. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.
- Two of the little "cups" of strawberry applesauce were used for this recipe but plain applesauce could be used as well. Look for brands with no added sugar.
- White whole wheat flour is a little lighter in texture and color than traditional whole wheat flour which also could be used. All-purpose flour is another option but won't give the added benefits of a whole grain.
- Other fresh or frozen fruit could also be used such as blueberries, raspberries, peaches, etc. Tossing the fruit with a little bit of flour before adding to batter can help prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.
- A sprinkle of old-fashioned oats before baking adds a quick, eye-appealing touch to the muffins. A light dusting of cinnamon and sugar could also be used.
- Serving Size (1 muffin):
- Calories 164
- Total Fat 7g
- Total Carbohydrates 25g
- Fiber 2.1g
USDA's MyPlate for Preschoolers
This newsletter has been peer-reviewed. It was reviewed and updated in 2023.