Blogger, nutritionist, personal trainer, world-renowned fitness model and mum of four Sophie Guidolin on why eating at home is healthier.

What should mealtimes be like in a family?

My personal belief is that meal times should be a family event, without television or phones. It should bring the family together at the end of the day and should only be missed on rare occasions. We use the time to discuss our top three or bottom three from the day. It allows our children to express their highlights while also recognising that we can talk about the harder things in our day in a supportive environment. We always eat the same foods as our children and I am not fazed if they don’t finish their plates, but it is a rare occurrence!

What is the most important habit at home that parents should cultivate with their children?

Lead by example. Allow children to choose their favourite meals and don’t be too fazed if certain days they aren’t as interested. Like us adults, kids have varying appetites. Allow them to choose their meals and favourite foods, while giving them the freedom to help cook and prepare meals.

Sophie Guidolin sitting on a swing, with her three children in the foreground on a picnic mat.
Sophie and three of her four children enjoy healthy wholefoods that are also fun.

Why should children be involved in the cooking process?

I believe when children choose their meals or are a part of selecting the ingredients they like the most, they’re more accountable and tend to eat more variety without force. Besides them learning how to cook, I believe it really helps with kids knowing where their meals come from.

Watch resident nutritionist Amanda Muhl give the lowdown on how and why you should be getting your kids to help in the kitchen.

How do you get your children to like (and eat) healthy wholefoods, instead of all the junk food options so many kids seem to love?

I think everything in balance, but teaching them the benefits of what certain foods will do when eaten regularly will gives them the freedom to select foods that will fuel their bodies, over empty nutrient foods. Educating kids on the benefits of variety and different foods allows them the choice to make a great decision.

Bonus recipe

Hulk Pasta, a vegan, low-carb, low-kilojoule dish the entire family can enjoy.

My Kids Eat Volume 2 by Sophie Guidolin (rrp $44.95; paperback) is available here.

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