Raising Healthy Eaters: notes and observations

“If my life were a movie, mealtime in our home would be the gory part…” I wrote over eight years ago in an emotional post my hobby blog, Under the High Chair.

I had a toddler and a baby, and was devastated to report that the disaster we called ‘family dinner’ was a real let-down. “Things will get better” I was told by many people, and of course they did eventually. But at the time, when everything I made ended up on the floor and I struggled to eat everything one-handed, I wondered nightly “What is the point?”

The truth is, the family table is a wonderfully intimate yet ever so imperfect gathering place.

During the good times, it’s the best spot on earth – and when things get ugly, we have to will ourselves to stay in our seats and endure. If you’re enduring, I’m here to tell you what other parents told me – things will get better, in their own time and in their own way. In the meantime here are a few things to remember about feeding kids that helped me over the past decade.

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11 healthy family food habits to embrace in 2015

This list originally started as a few notes scratched in a notebook I keep in my bedside table. Reminders. Little practices that I occasionally forget about, yet want to continue because I know they have a long-lasting positive impact on my family.

It wasn’t until a few days later, standing at the sink up to my elbows in dishes and spacing out the window at the falling snow, when I realized that you might want a similar nudge. The new year is a popular reset time for many reasons, and while I am not going on a diet or pledging any massive goals, I am taking a look at how I can improve our family food culture and strengthen healthy food habits.

I think that you are all doing a bang-up job around the family table, but perhaps in reading, you will find there are one or two practices you could adopt.

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Our guidelines for good manners around the table

“Mom, can we ask Ethan why he was late?”

My eldest piped up with this question around our Sunday dinner table, while sitting across from the named guest. I remember trying to silence him with a look, and then muttering something along the lines of “we’ll talk about it later.”

Ah, kids. They certainly aren’t born with manners. It’s up to us, the parents, to teach them until they grow up and begin to grasp the meaning of tact and diplomacy. A most interesting discussion on the Simple Bites Facebook page a while ago encouraged me to write down and share our guidelines for good manners.

We strive to teach good behaviour around our table, but, boy, is it a work in progress. I’ve learned to heap on encouragement, striving to give 5 times the praise for each reprimand or instruction. Some nights it feels impossible to find anything good to say, but the children perk up with the praise and noticeably try harder.

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Silent Sunday: Our Christmas in photos

I‘ve taken a week over the holidays to spend time with family and friends, but am just popping in to share a few photos from our Christmas.

Here’s hoping your holiday has been special as well, filled with peace, joy and love.

Merry Christmas from the Bourque Family

Merry Christmas from all of us, even the grumpy boy in the middle!

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Apple picking and Happy Thanksgiving

Today is the day of the long weekend to truly relax at home. Saturday and Sunday were spent hither and yon at various family gatherings, but this morning we can stay in our slippers, leisurely sip our lattés, and give thanks for a cozy home and healthy family.

I don’t even mind that the weather is grey and rainy, as I’ll be in the kitchen  for a good part of the day anyway. I have a new set of appliances to break in and there’s no better way than with a turkey-trimmed Thanksgiving spread.

apple picking

I don’t have the usual Monday material for you today, but I thought I would share a few (iPhone) snaps from our apple picking outing last weekend. It’s one of our favourite events of the year, complete with a picnic and plenty of foot races up and down the orchard rows.

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