Serena Caner, registered dietician

Column: Mom’s most-hated question

“What would you like for dinner?”

My generation of parents is the first to ask our children this question.

In fact, we are likely the only culture in the world that does this. Why?

Mealtimes have become so chaotic and rushed, that many of us have not thought about the answer yet. We are reacting to our children’s hunger, rather than preparing for it.

Consequently, the nutritional content of supper suffers.

Another reason we ask this question is in hope of a peaceful mealtime. We imagine that if they choose what to eat, our children will sit quietly through the meal, well-behaved. But it never works. Child A and Child B never want the same thing, and it is usually unacceptable to Parent C. Then you get into making different meals for different people, which is an unsustainable system for any household.

What does the research say?

As a parent, you have the right and responsibility to make decisions on what will be prepared at mealtimes.

Children need to learn to eat the food that is cooked for them, and to trust that their parents knows what is best for their health.

I am one of those parents who got into the habit of asking my children what they would like to eat.

The answer was always the same, and then I would have to back pedal to get myself out of my own suggestion. Now, each of my kids get “their day”, where they get input on the menu (i.e. they choose the vegetable/starch/protein). This solution works for me because I only have two children and it gives me an out on all other food requests.

“Oh you wanted pasta for supper? Well, we can have that on your day.”

It also helps engage my children in the meal preparation, as it is their duty to help cook on the day of their meal.

While ideally they would help every day, cooking with small children requires a level of patience that I cannot find every day.

A final good strategy is to make a weekly meal plan, so that you don’t find yourself scrambling for what to eat for dinner when you get home from work.

-Serena Caner is a registered dietitian who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

Just Posted

Grow your family tree at the library

There is a book in the library that I want to read.… Continue reading

Hockey team gets behind Movember

Summerland bantam team supporting men’s health cause

Critteraid fundraiser in support of 53 sick and injured cats and kittens

Only a few tickets left for fundraiser in Summerland for rescued cats and kittens

Volunteer visitors needed

Summerland senior care home calling for volunteers

Update: Penticton couple helping in California felt that donating money ‘wasn’t enough’

A planned holiday has turned into a humanitarian effort for a Penticton couple

Weekend weather update: Crisp and sunny

This weekend will see lots of sunshine and below season temperatures for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

$224.5 million announced for Highway 1 bridge replacement in Sicamous

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says bridge option will be announced next month

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Okanagan volunteers reflect on building classrooms in Nepal

Through the charity Her International, the volunteer group built four classrooms

Accident north of Vernon involves SUV and semi truck

Minor delays reported in Highway 97 crash

Ontario driver rolls car in Okanagan

Crash near Vernon follows reports of erratic driving

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Most Read