5 Ways to Prioritize Mealtime at Home

by Megan Burseth Dietetic Intern


It can be a difficult task to get toddlers to eat what you put in front of them but with these 5 tips on prioritizing mealtime you can help your child to focus on their meal or snack.

  1. Schedule meals and snacks at the same time each day: younger children are more likely to eat if you schedule meals/snacks at the same time each day. Somedays you may be running late, or life gets in the way but if you remain consistent with mealtimes this will create a routine for your child to follow.
  2. Have them sit down for meals and snacks: Avoid eating while on the go, you can emphasize the importance of eating nutritious meals by sitting them down every time you eat. If you are away from home during meal/snack time, make an effort to sit your child down to focus on the meal or snack so they can focus on their food.
  3. Eat meals as a family: when you make it a priority to eat meals together it becomes a family event to share food and conversation. This can also be a time for parents to be good role models for healthy eating habits.
  4. Eliminate distractions: turn off the TV, remove the tablet, put away the toy or book. This will allow your child’s full attention to be on the food in front of them.
  5. Let your child decide how much to eat: let them know they don’t have to finish all of their food and that it is their decision on how much they eat. This will help them to listen to their hunger and fullness ques.

With these simple tips you can help your child practice healthy eating habits and create a nourishing relationship with food that will last for the rest of their lives.

Our caregivers at our early education centers prioritize meal/snack times by following the tips above. Every day they stick to a schedule, have the children sit down when eating, and remove distractions. Communicate with your children’s caregivers to ask how they prioritize mealtimes and ask for more tips.

Now it’s your turn! Share your own tips on how you emphasize the importance of meals at home. And make sure to register for our Parent Nutrition Workshop this fall.