Meal schedules is one of our 5 mealtime mantras. Routine times for meals, snacks, and naps is really beneficial for all kids. Here’s what you need to know to make it happen at your home.
Kids need predictability
Predictability! A predictable and structured routine is proven to help most children learn when things are coming such as sleep and meal times. Research shows that a regular routine promotes stability, helping kids to better build trust and learn healthier habits.
Predictability and a routine helps kids develop hunger cues. This means kids come to mealtime hungry. Their bodies start to learn when it’s time to eat vs when it’s not. The goal is for them to be hungry, but not starving at meal times.
Trust your schedule
If you keep the same routine, you can trust your schedule. Having a schedule will help you feel better if your child decides to skip a meal or doesn’t like what is served. Another snack or meal is just around the corner.
How can I implement a meal schedule for my child?
Start with a pen and paper. Include three meals per day (and yes this means breakfast!) with structured snacks (somewhere between 1-2 snacks for our older children and 3-4 for our little ones). Space meals out adequately to allow kids to become hungry-at least two hours apart between eating times. You can talk to a Fooblie coach about the specifics of your situation and get help making a schedule for your kid.
Schedules do not mean your kids have to eat exactly at 8:00 AM every day, but it means that around the same time of day and at regular intervals they should expect food. We like to think of it more as zones. Like the breakfast zone is 8 to 10, the lunch zone is 12 to 2, etc.
Stick to the schedule, together
Watch out for grazing. Grazing is snacking continuously throughout the day. It will make it more difficult for kids to be hungry at meal times-and therefore less likely to eat when it’s time to. This includes limiting beverages like juice (besides water of course!) between eating times.
Make your schedule work for the whole family
We know it’s hard, but try to schedule one meal when everyone can be together. There is a ton of research showing the benefits of family meals. We truly are models of behavior and if our children see us trying new foods, they may be more likely to do so too!
Learn more about the Fooblie 5. Have any questions you want to ask a nutrition pro? Check out our coaching appointments.