Are You Good Company?

by KristenY on December 19, 2013 · 0 comments

To me, the holidays are all about family and friends gathering around the table to share food, stories and laughter. It’s a great reminder of how enjoyable family meals can be. But mealtime can be a stressful time if you’re under the 2-bite microscope.

What’s the 2-bite microscope? It’s what I call it when parents’ entire interaction with their kids is about the food—how much they have or haven’t eaten. As a parent, it is easy to fall into this trap. After all, you’re concerned about your child’s nutrition. You will know if you’ve fallen into the 2-bite microscope trap if you catch yourself telling your child how many more bites they need to eat. Time and again I’ve seen that kids who are under the 2-bite microscope don’t eat well. There’s just too much pressure. It seems paradoxical, but the more you back off, the better they’ll eat.

When I say back off, I don’t mean silent meal times. Or, leaving your child alone at the table. What I mean is being good company. Have pleasant conversations. Yes, that includes having pleasant conversations with your partner too—your child doesn’t have to be the centre of your attention for every second of the meal.

What to talk about? Choose any topic except the food you’re eating. One of my favourites is to play good thing, bad thing. This game is known by many other names, but basically it involves everyone at the table taking turns telling about the best and worst things about their day. Even preschoolers love playing this game. And you’ll connect as a family. When kids enjoy being at the family table, they’ll eat better. Period.

Do you have any family traditions for mealtime conversations? Please share them here!

Happy Holidays,


For more evidence-based strategies for feeding your little one (and recipe and snack ideas). Enter your email address at:

Known as The Dietitian who Transforms Picky Eaters into Food-Confident Kids, Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD, through her business Vitamin K Nutrition Consulting, answers the question “How do I get my kids to try new foods?”. Get your (free) copy of 101 Healthy Snack Ideas (that even picky toddlers and preschoolers will eat) at:

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