Question 2 (Posed by a thoughtful reader of this blog):
"I am wondering what your thoughts are generally about special plates for kids. Meaning - if we were to get sectional plates, it would be another way in which Natalie's plates were different/separate from ours. On the weekends, she eats with us and eats what we eat (no special white "kid" food for her, etc.). On weeknights she tends to eat alone, as we eat later in the night, but I like the idea of her using the same dishes that we use and thinking that we all eat the same food, the same way. I think there is a tension here." -Thoughtful Reader
You are correct. There is a bit of a tension here. Ideally we would eat on the same plate as our kids; but while a 1-3 year old may be okay with a real plate under your supervision, if you will not be able to monitor them 100% at the table and you don't want broken plates, a kids plate is ideal. It's certainly more important to be calm at mealtime and not stressing about broken plates. If you are accustomed to using a paper plate, feel free to use it for both of you (and recycle it!). It's not the plate that matters but ultimately, its how you fill it. As kids become 3, 4, & 5 years old they may want to eat similarly to their parents and can transition to real plates. But if they don't care, I don't really think it matters. If you are transitioning to healthy eating, a sectional plate can be a very useful teaching tool. In fact, a research study this month (see how timely I am!) showed that school students are more likely to eat fruits and veggies if their lunch tray sections had pictures on them. A child doesn't understand how to eat in today's society unless they are taught; gently showing them the way via pictures and/or sections helps. Also, what Ellyn said above applies here too: don't pressure on children's eating and use what feels best for you.
Lastly, a few of you seemed to be concerned about sufficient protein intake and growth spurts while using the sectional plates. It's a great question, a great opportunity to talk about division of responsibility. But...I will address this in another post.
AND do not forget to enter the sectional plate giveaway! Two readers will receive a sectional plate thanks to and .
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