Serena Caner, registered dietician

Column: Mom’s most-hated question

“What would you like for dinner?”

My generation of parents is the first to ask our children this question.

In fact, we are likely the only culture in the world that does this. Why?

Mealtimes have become so chaotic and rushed, that many of us have not thought about the answer yet. We are reacting to our children’s hunger, rather than preparing for it.

Consequently, the nutritional content of supper suffers.

Another reason we ask this question is in hope of a peaceful mealtime. We imagine that if they choose what to eat, our children will sit quietly through the meal, well-behaved. But it never works. Child A and Child B never want the same thing, and it is usually unacceptable to Parent C. Then you get into making different meals for different people, which is an unsustainable system for any household.

What does the research say?

As a parent, you have the right and responsibility to make decisions on what will be prepared at mealtimes.

Children need to learn to eat the food that is cooked for them, and to trust that their parents knows what is best for their health.

I am one of those parents who got into the habit of asking my children what they would like to eat.

The answer was always the same, and then I would have to back pedal to get myself out of my own suggestion. Now, each of my kids get “their day”, where they get input on the menu (i.e. they choose the vegetable/starch/protein). This solution works for me because I only have two children and it gives me an out on all other food requests.

“Oh you wanted pasta for supper? Well, we can have that on your day.”

It also helps engage my children in the meal preparation, as it is their duty to help cook on the day of their meal.

While ideally they would help every day, cooking with small children requires a level of patience that I cannot find every day.

A final good strategy is to make a weekly meal plan, so that you don’t find yourself scrambling for what to eat for dinner when you get home from work.

-Serena Caner is a registered dietitian who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

COVID-19: Vernon Towne Cinema back in action!

Movie lovers rejoice, the historic theatre has reopened with safety protocols in place

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

Most Read