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

Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Smoky skies causes Okanagan-wide air quality issues

Central Okanagan pushed to high risk

UPDATED: Expect heavy delays on Highway 97

Motorists may use an alternate route via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3

Former NHL’er dishes on life after hockey

B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Willie Mitchell on life after the Vancouver Canucks and hockey

Fire in backcountry near Keremeos reaches 400 hectares in size

Two significant fires are burning in the Lower Similkameen, smoke can be seen as far away as Osoyoos

Breaking: More evacuation orders for Mount Eneas wildfire, south of Peachland

The BC Wildfire Service is battling a large wildfire alongside Highway 97 in Peachland.

For-profit ridesharing legislation long overdue: BC Conservatives

Interim party leader Scott Anderson said the provincial government should step out of the way

Owner of fruit stand recounts ‘flames popping up everywhere’ from wildfire near Peachland

The Mount Eneas wildfire is burning at about 200 hectares south of Peachland

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire burns overnight

The wildfire across the lake from Peachland is burning at 200 hectares

Heavy traffic delays on Highway 97 due to wildfire near Peachland

Peachland - Evacuation orders have been issued for Brent Road and Highway 97 South properties

Cluster of fires fans smoke over West Kelowna

A cluster of three fires are burning above West Kelowna

Most Read