A study released today says that most children eat too much sugar and too much salt. Getting the kids to eat better is about making the meal time calmer and more enjoyable. The nutritionist Patrícia Almeida Nunes and the pediatrician Mário Cordeiro give some useful advice to teach your children to eat better, to behave well at the table and to avoid the endless tantrums at mealtime.

1. Reset
Before you think of new rules, you must eliminate frequent mistakes when preparing meals: avoid drinking juices or sodas that contain sugar and make children restless, replace sweet desserts with fresh fruit, cultivate calm at the table and not Transforming the meal into an exaggerated joking or guerrilla space.

2. Avoid dining too late
With the rhythm of the school, especially for the youngest, from 6:00 p.m., many children are already exhausted and dinner becomes a “torture”, so it is necessary to anticipate the time to eat at night so that they can have the Rest due and do not make tantrums at the table.

3. The law of disguise
It is possible to disguise the vegetables in some recipes. This is an effective way to prevent children from setting aside what they do not like. For example, grate carrot or cabbage into the bolognese sauce, make sandwiches with extra dose of vegetables or add fruit to the salad.

4. A family outing to the market
A fun option to avoid the tantrums at the table is to go with the kids to the supermarket or, better yet, from time to time to a market where the smells are intense and let them choose one thing or another, show them different products and explain its origin. Later, at home, you can let them help put away the groceries in the refrigerator and cabinets.

5. Children are welcome in the kitchen
With due care, of course! Calling children to help prepare lunch / dinner can be a fun way to teach them food and can become a great time between parents and children. If children feel that they are part of the elaboration of the meal and are tasting it, they will probably eat with more satisfaction.

6. Blackmail only as a last resort
The idea that food is the currency of exchange should only be the last resort. Children should realize early on that eating well is just as important as any other health-related habit. Eating habits, good or bad, are acquired in the first years of life.

7. Good education at the table is essential.
Since early establish that the meal time is not television time, iPads, mobile phones, etc … for children and for parents! Being at the table with others and being on the phone with a third party or listening to what a speaker is saying is disconnecting from the conviviality and giving priority to the other to the detriment of those who are with us. On the other hand, the habit of sitting down, not starting to eat without everyone being present, asking for permission to get up, using a napkin, etc., should be taught from an early age so the child begins to notice from an early age That there are limits that you should not disrespect. Connecting with other children, whether in schools or in restaurants, can be a facilitator.

8. Set the example
The example of parents is fundamental in everything. Without being too much of a burden for parents – who are not and should not be perfect – they should try to be good role models. Children tend to imitate their parents, and if they have nervous examples and are annoying at the table, they will think they can too.