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Dear Daisy, It is your first day at school...

Why do children find eating at the table so boring? Can we really blame that for obesity? *AD

Tea time in our house is a bit of a chore and has been for a few months now and Daisy is only 23 months old! She would rather be elsewhere, doing anything but eating, especially at the kitchen table.

But with a new survey completed by mums (and dads I expect!) I can read that it isn't just us that has this battle. One of the main drivers for parents when choosing what food to buy their children is their concern that their children getting bored at the table. Meal times are now getting faster because our lives are so busy and parents often choose to buy instant and easy meal options.

I would love to say that I home cooked everything I fed Daisy but in reality it isn't true. And actually although it partly is down to the fact I know she finds food boring and would rather not eat if she can help it, but I also know how much food we waste in our house at the moment with her fussy habits! I am far more inclined to give her food she can carry about, away from the table to snack on. this is not a habit I would encourage and is something I am quite ashamed of, but sometimes you really do have to choose your battles. I should point out Daisy always has her breakfast at the table and is always happy to sit there and have it, and more often than not that applies to lunch time too. But Tea time, is pretty much a no no.

I know this is down to us and trying to engage in eating more, but I sometimes wonder how can we reverse it? Daisy used to eat anything and everything. When she started teething she really went off playing and engaging with food and would rather just not, and it seems to have gone that way since. If you have any ideas then please do share!!!

I have found recently that the idea of a "picnic" seems to help her be interested in eating and trying new things, but again it is limited and again it is away from where I would rather her eating, the kitchen table.

76% of Mums are aware that their children love quick and easy foods, and 71% are concerned about the children getting bored at the table. Which may be why some of us are more likely to buy  foods such as chicken nuggets and fish fingers rather than real fish fillets and chicken on the bone because these options are taking less time to cook and are most likely to be appreciated by their children and actually eaten. 

Some other statistics from the report show the following, which I find a really sad read:

Mums don’t have the time and they miss time eating together as a family …
·      Nearly 7 in 10 mums (66%) say finding the time to cook is a real challenge as life is so busy.

·      73% of mums wish they had more time to sit and enjoy mealtimes together as a family.

I am pleased to say this doesn't really apply to us, not the majority of the time anyway. Our jobs allow us to be around most dinner times, but that doesn't mean we always make the most of it. And actually I wish we did, and is something I am going to try to actively change.

Additional Info from report:

The survey of mums reflects findings of a report commissioned by Organix: “Engineering Taste - Is this the future of our children’s food?”which reveals that children are growing up with a taste for engineered food. The report found that engineered foods – with unnecessary additives, artificial flavours and colours - are contributing towards quicker mealtimes (both preparation and eating), and the true experience of fresh food is being planned, designed and engineered out of the lives of increasing numbers of families.

Taste Psychologist Greg Tucker, says, “We found that children are learning to look for fast taste gratification and easy eats – and losing the ability and desire to invest the time and effort to enjoy and experience ‘real’ food.”

“Little mouths (and wobbly teeth) need longer to break down food especially ‘real’ foods because they are more challenging. This is a genuine barrier for children who are acclimatising to food being low effort. Children are losing the skills to experience taste, flavour and texture.”

*PR Collaboration

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