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

Outbreak at Okanagan hospital

Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Dedicated volunteers look for clues

Police appreciate work of those who provide extra eyes for missing women investigations.

Repairs made near river at Sagmoen farm

Areas dug up during police search being fixed to comply with Fisheries rules

Midwives open practice in Salmon Arm

New practitioners will deliver babies in home or hospital

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Video: Salmon Arm kids bust a move

Elementary students learned some new moves in the after-school program taught by Manny Christjansen

From the archives

A weekly look back on Salmon Arm’s history

Wilkie fourth in three events at World Cup

Consistent results for local cross-country skier in Canmore

RCMP seek missing man

Blake Doyle was last seen Dec. 2

BMX bike track proposed for Silver Creek

A group interested in BMX are working to get a track built at the Silver Creek Community Park.

Junior Golds place third on the home court

Senior boys team struggles to keep up the pace at North Vancouver event

‘Backs lose to Vipers and Cents

Team has not won since Nov. 25

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

Most Read