I recently went to a training for work and one of the main topics of discussion was “family-style meals.” Family-style meals are meals in which children are allowed to serve themselves. The parents (or other adults in charge) do not portion out the food onto individual plates, but the children (yes even pre-school children) put their own food onto their own plates. This allows children to have some autonomy and control over their own meals.
After the discussions on family-style meals, I decided it was time for my own house to have some family-style meals. I started letting my two daughters (ages 8 and 5) serve themselves at the table. Want to know what happened? They ate better! I told them to take what they thought they would eat and if they wanted more, they could get more food later. They have both done really well! My five-year-old has to be reminded to only take the amount of food she wants to eat because scooping is fun, but they both tend to eat the food they put on their plates! AND we haven’t had any big messes yet!
If you’ve got finicky eaters, try this. It’s been a great change.