iStock 000010666185Small 150x150 6 Steps To Bringing Peace Back to Mealtime!

6 Steps To Bringing Peace Back to Mealtime

by Dana Snook, RDN, CDE, CIC

Raising competent eaters that sit down at the table and behave all while trying new foods is HARD! I can tell you the last two weeks have been a challenge with my little 18 month old toddler. Now, one thing to understand is that she has always been at the table with us. Yes, even at a few weeks old she would be next to our chairs in her bouncy seat. So, it was no surprise that when she was old enough to start on solid foods that she stole the spoon right from my hand and shoved it in. Fast forward 13 months later, my little mobile toddler is still a good eater, but has a serious case of the “Mommy’s.” This leads to her abandoning her meal in hopes of a cozy seat on my lap. I can honestly say, this DOES NOT work for me. I want to sit down and enjoy my meal and that goes away when a toddler is interfering with my eating. It has taken about 1 week of following my own advice and now I have peace back at the table.

It’s important to understand that children want to be good eaters. They want to please their parents, but sometimes they need a little direction to get there. Whether you are raising an older infant, toddler, preschooler or teenager they all in need of a consistent message in order for them to succeed.

If you are someone like me and looking to bring peace back to your family meals, I am going to disclose the 6 steps to help you get there.

1. Always serve one meal at the table with at least two familiar foods. Being a short order cook is so much EXTRA WORK and can be STRESSFUL. As parents we have barely enough time to get 1 meal on the table let alone 2 or 3. Special meals do not teach children to be comfortable around unfamiliar foods. Take the pressure off what they have to eat and allow them the autonomy to pick and choose from what is served!

2. No insulting the Chef! We all have different tastes and preferences; children do as well. As an adult it is important to respect your children’s taste preference by serving a variety of food on the table as I mentioned above. However, it is equally important that they repect the chef. Do not allow words like yuck, gross, or disgusting at your table, this is disrespectful. Children are allowed to express their love or dislike for the food in a polite fashion only.

3. Always provide all meals and snacks at the table.  Children need to learn from a young age what is acceptable behavior at the table. If they never have to sit at the table how will they learn? Remember consistency is key here. Children who eat at the table on a consistent basis behave better and will do better nutritionally then those we do not.

4. Maintain a consistent message. You can’t enforce the rules only sometimes. If one day they have to eat the broccoli and one day they do not, what message is that sending to them? One day they have to sit at the table and the next time they don’t? Make the rules for the family and stick with them even when it gets tough (and, yes, there may be tears!)

5. Serve another meal or snack a few hours later. In our weight/health obsessed society I find some parents are nervous about too much snacking. There is a big difference between “grazing” and “snacking.” Snacks are at predetermined time. I recommend always providing snacks about 2-3 hours after a meal and at least 2 hours before the next meal. This will allow everyone to come to the table hungry, but not famished.

6. Talk to your child. Last, but certainly not least you need to communicate. They need to understand the rules or changes that are going to occur.  Explanations can go a long way and will set them up for success rather than failure.

My biggest lesson of the the last few weeks was that sometimes a few tears have to be shed before we can have peace at our table. By standing by what I teach and some stressful nights things have resolved and again we have PEACE AT THE TABLE!

I’m curious, what is your biggest challenge with feeding your children? Have you been able to resolve it yourself? Feel free to comment below!

Much Love,

Dana Snook

dana7edit 150x150 6 Steps To Bringing Peace Back to Mealtime!


Dana Snook is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Intrinsic Coach and Certified Diabetes Educator focused on improving the health and well being of the whole family. She specializes in feeding the family, picky eaters, weight issues and emotional eating.


iStock 000015177749Small 150x150 Eat Green for Saint Patricks Day

Eat Green for St. Patrick’s Day

by Dana Snook, RDN, CDE, CIC

I am sure it is no surprise today is St. Patrick’s Day. No matter where you turn you will see green. As an Irish women myself, I grew up making Irish Soda Bread with my Mom and eating Corned Beef and Cabbage on this very day.  I still follow these same traditions and I hope to pass them down to my daughter. This year my dietitian side has come out and even though I still made the corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread, I also decided to take a different spin on things.

What can you do different?

This year, forget all the food coloring and instead focus on adding some naturally green foods into your family’s diet.  Whether you serve green apples, cabbage, avocado, or kiwi you will be sure to pack in the nutrition.

Do you know all the health benefits associated with these naturally green foods?

  •  Leafy Green Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are just a fancy name for the compounds found in plants.  These phytochemicals are so important in fighting diseases such as cancer.
  • Green apples are high in Vitamin C, Magnesium and Fiber. These vitamins and minerals can boost our immune system, cardiovascular health, and prevent eye disease. Magnesium has been a hot topic recently as we have come to realize how often magnesium deficiencies are linked to common aliments. Magnesium helps with our nervous system, regulating our body temperature, detoxification and building healthy bones and teeth. 
  • Avocado contains mostly monounsaturated fats. These fats are essential for heart health. Eating avocados with a meal or even salad can increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. 
  • Kiwi is a vitamin and anitxoidant powerhouse that is often overlooked. One Kiwi give your about 85% of your daily value of vitamin C…that’s even more than an orange. It also has been known to help with DNA protection, macular degeneration, asthma and heart health.

What couldn’t be more perfect than a St Patrick’s Day filled with nutrition. So for just this day choose green, but keep in mind having a variety is essential to overall health. Eating a variety of food will ensure you get all the necessary nutrients your body requires.

What is your favorite green food? Feel free to comment below!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Much Love,

Dana Snook

dana7edit 150x150 Eat Green for Saint Patricks Day


Dana Snook is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Intrinsic Coach and Certified Diabetes Educator focused on improving the health and well being of the whole family. She specializes in feeding the family, picky eaters, weight issues and emotional eating.




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January 1, 2014

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It’s time to eat, you open the fridge determined to eat something “healthy,” but all you are really wanting is that leftover pizza from last night. You muster up all the willpower you have and grab the boring Greek yogurt and fresh fruit you bought at the store because this week you are going to [...]

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99.5% of Diets Fail! WoW, 99.5% If you knew that 99.5% of drivers would get in a car accident today, would you drive? Probably not, but everyday another person diets. Have you? Dieted for over HALF your life Tried every diet and still unable to lose a pound Felt out of control in the presence [...]

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December 3, 2013

The Consistent Reality   by Dana Snook, RDN, CDE, CIC The holidays bring a great opportunity to catch up and have some great conversations with family and friends. Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to do just that and with each conversation, although led by a different topic always came back to the [...]

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  Over the past year, I have taken great pride in putting meals on the table and watching my little one develop into a competent eater. Supporting a competent eater for me has consisted of planning balanced meals and giving a consistent feeding message. I know first hand that it’s not always easy…and this is [...]

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Life has been so busy for me over the last several months. Between raising a one year old, starting my business, writing a book and training for a 5 mile run it has left me with a limited amount of time. Some nights I’m so exhausted it takes everything I have to finish what has [...]

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  Are you constantly craving certain foods? Do you find at times you eat everything in sight? Do you constantly fall off every diet you try only to gain more weight? If you answered, “YES,”  to even one of these questions then it’s time…it’s time for us Sugar Junkies to UNITE! Cravings are one of [...]

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October 1, 2013

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Grazing and Handouts: How To Cut It Out!

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Do you Need a Detox?

September 16, 2013

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Sesame Chicken

April 17, 2014

  Print Sesame Chicken A delicious, healthy meal that is sure to please your whole family. It is great served with rice and sesame green beans. Author: Dana Snook Cuisine: Asian Recipe type: Dinner Serves: 4 Prep time:  45 mins Cook time:  40 mins Total time:  1 hour 25 mins Ingredients 4 boneless skinless chicken breast ¼ cup [...]

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April 15, 2014

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April 4, 2014

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March 31, 2014

Print Quick Shrimp Scampi over Angel Hair This meal can be completed 20 minutes start to finish. Author: Dana Snook Cuisine: Dinner Recipe type: Shrimp Serves: 4 Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  10 mins Total time:  20 mins Ingredients 2 tablespoon olive oil 6 garlic cloves, minced ⅔ cup clam juice 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined [...]

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Tex Mex Quoina Bake

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Tex Mex Quinoa Bake Print Tex Mex Quinoa Bake A delicious Tex Mex casserole that is sure to please everyone in the family. It is packed with vegetables and a lot of nutrition. Author: Dana Snook Cuisine: Mexican Recipe type: Dinner Serves: 6 Prep time:  45 mins Cook time:  45 mins Total time:  1 hour 30 mins Ingredients [...]

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Homemade Granola

January 16, 2014

  Print Homemade Granola A quick recipe for a healthy feeling snack Author: Dana Snook Recipe type: Snack Serves: 16 Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  25 mins Total time:  35 mins Ingredients ½ cup brown sugar ¼ cup honey 1 tbsp coconut oil ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 2½ cup rolled oats ½ cup pumpkin [...]

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