Parents dread family meals for fear their children will complain about the food

Vegetables are considered the most difficult food for kids to eat, with sprouts, mushrooms and olives topping the list of foods kids will choose, new research has found

Vegetables are considered the hardest food to teach children to eat
Vegetables are considered the most difficult food to get kids to eat

parents fear family meals because their children do not finish their meal, refuse to stay at the table long and complain about the food provided.

Research found that 35% of the 2,000 moms and dads surveyed said it was a “stressful” experience sitting down with everyone for dinner.

And 41% struggle to enjoy their own food because their child is fussy about it Food.

Therefore, one in six would often prefer to sit for the children first and later eat their own food in peace.

But more than a fifth say it doesn’t help that they’re not sure they can serve a meal that everyone enjoys.

And more than half (54%) would like help in the kitchen so they can serve up quick, tasty and healthy meals that the family is sure to enjoy.

More than half of parents find it difficult to get their children to eat a balanced diet


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John Lewis partnershipwho commissioned the study is partnering with the charity Home Start UK Launch Healthy Happy Homes, a program designed to help families improve their health and well-being.

Joanne Lunn, a nutritionist with the partnership, said: “We know that mealtimes can be very stressful for families when parents are concerned that they are not getting the right nutrition or that picky eating is getting in the way of a healthy diet.

“Small changes in how families approach meals can make a big difference.

“We shared some of our top tips with Home Start volunteers – such as: B. Involving children in meal planning and preparation, letting children choose their own food from a communal bowl, or serving sauces on the side.

“Simple changes like these can really make mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone.”

The study also found that feeding children too much sugar, not enough vegetables and a varied meal is one of the biggest concerns for parents.

And 56% struggle to get their child to eat a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates.

In fact, it’s known that nearly three-quarters (73%) of children ask for a snack at a home-cooked meal.

Vegetables are considered the hardest food for a child to eat (42%), followed by proteins such as fish, eggs and lean meat (22%) and healthy carbohydrates such as brown bread or brown rice (17%).

Sprouts, mushrooms, olives and onions are the foods children are most likely to focus on at dinner time.

While others choose or refuse to eat shrimp, broccoli, couscous and salmon.

To keep the kids happy, half of parents find it easier to grab something from the freezer, while 29% serve sweets and chocolate and 28% opt for a ready meal.

And in order for the whole family to eat well, those willing to serve different meals in different sessions often prepare up to three meals a night to provide food that everyone likes and cooks.

John Lewis Partnership suggests involving children in meal planning and preparation


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But 41% believe that with more time and money, they could make a more balanced dinner.

And 39% of those polled via OnePoll would like better access to recipes, with 36% saying they would welcome the use of online cooking guides.

Peter Grigg, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK, said: “This fantastic project will equip our volunteers with practical advice so they can help families become healthier and happier.

“By building our volunteers’ confidence in healthy eating, safe sleep and family finances, the program will truly enhance family well-being and help parents with the day-to-day challenges that all families face.”

The Healthy Happy Homes program begins with a focus on food and nutrition, with more activities to support safer sleep and family finances later this year.


  1. Your child is picky
  2. Complaints about the food on offer
  3. Your child does not finish his meals
  4. Your child wants to leave the table
  5. Your child refuses to come to the table when called
  6. children fight
  7. Your child eats messy
  8. Everyone insists on watching TV
  9. Nobody can sit still for long
  10. Everyone sits down at different times


  1. sprouts
  2. Mushrooms
  3. olives
  4. onions
  5. shrimp
  6. broccoli
  7. couscous
  8. Salmon
  9. pepper
  10. tomatoes
  11. Green salad
  12. tuna
  13. Peas
  14. carrots
  15. cod
  16. eggs
  17. ham
  18. beef steak
  19. ground beef
  20. chicken thighs

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