As our children head back to lessons after the summer holidays, the pressure is on parents to ensure that their little ones get the best possible fuel for school.
But according to new thinking, those of us stressing over whether they are eating their 5 a day every day are in the minority. Increasingly mums and dads are on a mission to chill out and take a more realistic approach to family mealtimes.
Results of a new survey by kids food company Mrs Tinks (http://www.tinksfood. com) reveals that only 12% of parents say they ensure their 7–11 year olds get the recommended daily amount of 5 fruit and veg a day, but this trend towards more relaxed mealtimes could be beneficial according to the experts. Most parents (70%) admit that it is “more like 3 or 4 a day” with others saying they “don’t keep track.”
So is this something we should stress about? Nutritionist JoTravers believes that it isn’t just about what they eat;“Especially for 7–11 years, it is more importantly about how they behave and feel around food.”
A recent study carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that American parents are at risk of becoming “Food Police” with 66% of dads and 50% of mums saying: “My child should always eat all the food on his/her plate.”
The US study found that “forcing kids to clean their plates does more harm than good” and “could be contributing to ‘suppertime stress’, putting kids at an early risk of obesity.”
So, the fact that we Brits seem a little more relaxed around food, and are trusting our kids to generally eat the right things, bodes well for their chances of growing up with a positive and healthy attitude to food and eating. Making mealtimes fun for the family doesn’t need to be time- consuming and expensive.