Family Style Meal Service

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Family Style Meal Service

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1. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Family Style Meal Service Some people call it “family style service” and others call it “children feeding themselves”…whatever you call it, it means that containers of food are put on the table, then children pass a common container around the table, and each child takes some food for his/her plate. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho) Family style is much more than just the serving of food. Mealtime in child care is active learning time and offers opportunities for discovery, trial and error, and child initiated behavior. Family Style can be defined as adults and children eating together, sharing the same menu, and talking together in an informal way. It also means that children are allowed to eat their meals and snacks in a manner that promotes the type of beneficial activities they might experience in their own home environment, including activities that promote decision making, self help skills, and sharing the social skills through interaction with others. (Charlotte Hendricks, Western Kentucky University)(Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho) Family style is much more than just the serving of food. Mealtime in child care is active learning time and offers opportunities for discovery, trial and error, and child initiated behavior. Family Style can be defined as adults and children eating together, sharing the same menu, and talking together in an informal way. It also means that children are allowed to eat their meals and snacks in a manner that promotes the type of beneficial activities they might experience in their own home environment, including activities that promote decision making, self help skills, and sharing the social skills through interaction with others. (Charlotte Hendricks, Western Kentucky University)

2. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Children Get 2/3 of Daily Nutrients in Child Care 13 million kids under 6 get 2/3 of daily nutrients when in child care Studies show eating habits & food preferences developed during childhood stay with a child throughout adulthood Each day an estimated 13 million children in the United States, under the age of 6, spend all or part of their day being cared for b y someone other than their parents. (Children’s Defense Fund, 2003) These children may receive up to two thirds of their daily nutritional needs away from home. (American Dietetic Association, 1999)   Numerous studies have demonstrated that eating habits and food preferences are developed during early childhood and these habits stay with children into adulthood. (Birch, Johnson, & Fisher, 1995; Birch & Marlin, 1982; Nicklas, Webber & Berenson, 1991) Each day an estimated 13 million children in the United States, under the age of 6, spend all or part of their day being cared for b y someone other than their parents. (Children’s Defense Fund, 2003) These children may receive up to two thirds of their daily nutritional needs away from home. (American Dietetic Association, 1999)   Numerous studies have demonstrated that eating habits and food preferences are developed during early childhood and these habits stay with children into adulthood. (Birch, Johnson, & Fisher, 1995; Birch & Marlin, 1982; Nicklas, Webber & Berenson, 1991)

3. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Purpose of the Study Determine frequency of family style meals in Colorado child care homes Determine if meal style affects child’s consumption Determine if meal style affects plate waste Discover barriers to family style meal service in child care homes Determine frequency of family style meals in homes Purpose of the study was to determine the frequency with which Tier 1 Child care providers in Colorado serve family-style meals; to determine if children consume different amounts of food, if there is more plate waste, and more eating time required when children are served pre-plated versus family style meal service; and to determine the frequency with which families of children attending Tier 1 child care homes eat meals together as a family.   Purpose of the study was to determine the frequency with which Tier 1 Child care providers in Colorado serve family-style meals; to determine if children consume different amounts of food, if there is more plate waste, and more eating time required when children are served pre-plated versus family style meal service; and to determine the frequency with which families of children attending Tier 1 child care homes eat meals together as a family.  

4. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Methods Child care provider survey (Tier 1) Family survey Plate waste study Mealtime observations Literature review

5. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Child Care Provider Survey 280 surveys distributed to Front Range Colorado Tier 1 Child Care Providers enrolled in CACFP 117 surveys completed and returned >Mailing lists provided by A Child’s Choice, ACE Child Care Food Program, Kid Care Nutrition and Wildwood

6. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Child Care Provider Survey Results Prefered Style of Meal Service (63% report sitting down to eat with children) Providers who serve both pre-plated and mixed meals report serving specific foods, dairy, meat, drink, soup and combo foods, pre-plated while serving vegetables, fruit and brad family style. Insert Table 2 Providers who serve meals both family style and pre-plated tended to feed younger children 0-3 year of age pre-plated and older children, over 4 years of age family styleProviders who serve both pre-plated and mixed meals report serving specific foods, dairy, meat, drink, soup and combo foods, pre-plated while serving vegetables, fruit and brad family style. Insert Table 2 Providers who serve meals both family style and pre-plated tended to feed younger children 0-3 year of age pre-plated and older children, over 4 years of age family style

7. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Mixed Meals Sometimes a whole meal is available for children to serve themselves, and sometimes only part of a meal is available for self-serve. Providers use a variety of routines around self-serving depending on the age & the skills of the children. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho) Example: The children pour their drinks, while other food is pre-plated. Example: Provider may initially serve small helpings on toddler’s plates, but put out bowls of food for self-service on seconds. This approach helps toddlers get through the 1st few bites of food without waiting for the other children to serve themselves. Toddlers also learn the skill of “waiting”, which needs constant reinforcement.(Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho) Example: The children pour their drinks, while other food is pre-plated. Example: Provider may initially serve small helpings on toddler’s plates, but put out bowls of food for self-service on seconds. This approach helps toddlers get through the 1st few bites of food without waiting for the other children to serve themselves. Toddlers also learn the skill of “waiting”, which needs constant reinforcement.

8. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Question #1 This is what they said, what do you think we observed?This is what they said, what do you think we observed?

9. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Question #2

10. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Question #3 Summary: Most providers prefer the style of meal serve they currently uses because they believe it is easier to clean up, creates less of a mess, is more nutritious, is easier for children, is easier for them and is a learning experience for children The majority of providers did not report a lack of education, time, money, utensils, recipes or cooking skills when serving lunch. Observations: Rushed through lunch to get to a nap or other activity. Lack of child appropriate serving vs. cooking utensils. Wanted recipes. Lack of food safety skills. Schedule conflicts was the major challenge we observed. Summary: Most providers prefer the style of meal serve they currently uses because they believe it is easier to clean up, creates less of a mess, is more nutritious, is easier for children, is easier for them and is a learning experience for children The majority of providers did not report a lack of education, time, money, utensils, recipes or cooking skills when serving lunch. Observations: Rushed through lunch to get to a nap or other activity. Lack of child appropriate serving vs. cooking utensils. Wanted recipes. Lack of food safety skills. Schedule conflicts was the major challenge we observed.

11. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Perceived Risks of Family Style Service Overeating Food waste due to self-serving too much Food safety Mess/spillage

12. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Plate Waste Study Design Participants – 12 Tier 1 child care homes, with 69 children in attendance Children were 1-6 yrs with an average age of 3.3 years

13. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Plate Waste Protocol Each home was visited 6 times in 2 weeks. 3 lunch menus were served. Each menu was served twice, once family style & once pre-plated. Order of service style was random in each home. Breakfast/AM. Snack menus consistent during testing. Breakfast/ AM. Snack times consistent and at least 2 hours before lunch during testing.

14. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Within-subjects crossover design used to evaluate the effects of family style vs. pre-plated meal service on: Food intake Plate waste Total time required for lunch

15. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension AM Snack/Breakfast Menus Graham crackers, banana, (milk if counted as breakfast) Blueberry muffin, sliced apples (milk if counted as breakfast) Yogurt parfaits (yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and granola), (milk if counted as breakfast)

16. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Lunch Menus Tortilla roll-ups (1/2 tortilla, 1 oz cheese & ˝ oz turkey), sliced & cored apples, green beans, milk. Macaroni & cheese, cubed ham, spinach salad w/ tomatoes and dressing, green seedless grapes, milk. Chicken nuggets, biscuit,raw broccoli heads w/ranch dressing, canned peaches, milk.

17. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Aggregate vs. individual measures simplified data collection and minimized interruption of children Each food was weighed before and after lunch, and collected from table and floor. If milk spilled paper towels were weighed before and after cleanup. Behavioral observations were recorded at each lunch session. Total time for lunch was defined as the time elapsed from when all children were seated until the last child finished eating.

18. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Data Analysis % Plate waste for each menu item was calculated. Average food consumed per child (in ounces) was calculated for each menu item. % Plate waste for each style of service was calculated by averaging individual values. Statistical Analyses were performed using SPSS12.0 for windows.

19. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Plate Waste Results Children ate significantly more total calories ( 15%) when serve family style vs. Preplated. With the exception of green beans and broccoli, consumption of every menu food item that was served, was higher with family style meal service compared to pre-plated. Consumption of both vegetables stayed the same, while plate waste decreased when served family style.Children ate significantly more total calories ( 15%) when serve family style vs. Preplated. With the exception of green beans and broccoli, consumption of every menu food item that was served, was higher with family style meal service compared to pre-plated. Consumption of both vegetables stayed the same, while plate waste decreased when served family style.

20. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Plate Waste by Serving Style

21. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension

22. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Common Themes Observed During Plate Waste Study Children’s food preferences were influenced by other children. Family style meals increased children’s interest in food served. Children enjoyed the process, sense of accomplishment and control gained by serving themselves. Children under 2 had difficulty serving themselves, especially if they could not reach the table. Children under 2 enjoyed the process of family style but did not understand the concept of” take what you will eat”.

23. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Additional Observations Children loved using child sized serving bowls, pitchers and serving utensils. Once kids made the decision to put some food on their plate with the cool tools, they were mentally committed to at least trying the food. Often not enough table space for plates & serving dishes Some child care providers did not follow food safety guidelines and in some cases may have put children’s health at risk.

24. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Food Safety What we observed Holding food at wrong temperature for too long Provider & children tasting food from serving utensils Heating jarred baby food in microwave Serving child from the baby food jar Children touching food in serving bowls Not properly cooling & storing food after the meal due to busy schedule.

25. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Hand Washing A Simple Message It takes 20 seconds of rubbing your hands with soap and water to get them clean. Try singing the ABC’s or Happy Birthday.

26. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Previously Known Advantages of Family Style Meal Service Enhances motor development Provides opportunities for making food choices Language development Self-esteem Social skills Table manners Independence Provides opportunity to practice table manners Family-style meal service is considered developmentally and nutritionally appropriate for preschool-aged children. The development of fine motor skill during the preschool years provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to encourage children to participate in food preparation. Allowing preschool –aged children to help with food preparation and service can enhance fine muscle coordination, teach valuable skills in making food choices, increase vocabulary about food and nutrition, increase intake and decrease the amount of food that is wasted. (Fletcher & Branen, 1994;Hertler, 1989;Sigman-Grant, 1992) Family-style meal service is considered developmentally and nutritionally appropriate for preschool-aged children. The development of fine motor skill during the preschool years provides an opportunity for parents and caregivers to encourage children to participate in food preparation. Allowing preschool –aged children to help with food preparation and service can enhance fine muscle coordination, teach valuable skills in making food choices, increase vocabulary about food and nutrition, increase intake and decrease the amount of food that is wasted. (Fletcher & Branen, 1994;Hertler, 1989;Sigman-Grant, 1992)

27. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Demonstrated Advantages of Family Style Meal Service in Child Care Homes Increases consumption of food. Decreases plate waste. Does not significantly increase meal time. Provides good opportunity to develop food handling skills. Increases vocabulary about food and nutrition May foster development of healthy eating habits in young children by creating an environment that encourages children to listen to internal hunger vs. external cues, as noted in larger standard deviation of intake.

28. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Possible Causes of Overweight in Young Children Genetics A medical condition Medication Lack of exercise Not recognizing satiety cues High fat or high kcal. intake Cultural or family imperatives to overeat Eating for non-nutritional reasons With increasing concerns about childhood obesity why would consuming more calories be a positive outcomes? If children are hungry when their parents parents pick them up from child care each day, parents are more likely to offer convenient snacks that are high in fat and calories but lacking in nutrition, until a meal is available. Weight gain is not likely caused by eating more of nutrient dense foods served as part of a balanced meal or snack. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho) Genetics 2. A medical condition that increases fat storage and weight gain 3. Medication that has weight gain as a side effect 4. Lack of exercise more commonly contributes to weight gain than does excessive eating! 5.Not recognizing satiety cues such as feeling satisfied, often due to adults that are over-riding the child’s cues. 6.High fat and/or high calorie intake, due to exposure to highly palatable foods. 7.Cultural or family imperatives to overeat 8. Eating for non-nutritional reasons such as: Rewarding with food, consoling with food, eating out of boredom, eating to procrastinate, eating as a substitute for love, eating for entertainment. With increasing concerns about childhood obesity why would consuming more calories be a positive outcomes? If children are hungry when their parents parents pick them up from child care each day, parents are more likely to offer convenient snacks that are high in fat and calories but lacking in nutrition, until a meal is available. Weight gain is not likely caused by eating more of nutrient dense foods served as part of a balanced meal or snack. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho) Genetics 2. A medical condition that increases fat storage and weight gain 3. Medication that has weight gain as a side effect 4. Lack of exercise more commonly contributes to weight gain than does excessive eating! 5.Not recognizing satiety cues such as feeling satisfied, often due to adults that are over-riding the child’s cues. 6.High fat and/or high calorie intake, due to exposure to highly palatable foods. 7.Cultural or family imperatives to overeat 8. Eating for non-nutritional reasons such as: Rewarding with food, consoling with food, eating out of boredom, eating to procrastinate, eating as a substitute for love, eating for entertainment.

29. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Skills Children Developed by Serving Themselves Passing bowls or pitchers so that someone else successfully receives them. Direct requests and needs to people using “give & take of” conversation. Wait their turns. Judge space for the bowls or pitchers on the table. Balance serving containers while serving from them. Efficiently use serving utensils. Other research has shown that children learn a variety of skills for serving themselves. Here are some of those skills that child care providers and parents can help children acquire. Bowls with rims and pitchers with covers make beginning attempts at this task easier. Using plastic pitchers instead of heavy glass of china. Use smaller size serving pieces. Children need reminders to look at the person who is passing or receiving the bowl or pitcher. Toddlers can start “passing” with the child care provider who is already skilled in “passing” and “looking” as they pass food containers. Toddlers and even 3 year olds need to be reminded to “look” as they pass. Toddlers are busy learning the task of holding and at the same time moving the bowl of food or pitcher of milk. They maybe unable to also focus on the 3rd task of watching the other person in the duet of passing food around the table. Judging space for the bowl pitcher and how much space it will take is a task best learned through trail and error. Children learn how far from the edge to place bowls, so they do not become imbalanced and fall off of the table. The provider can remind children to move containers and point out where a bowl or pitcher can be placed. Provide utensils that are balanced, fairly lightweight, and have short handles that are small enough for young children’s hands to grasp all the way around. Try lightweight ice cream scoops, small tongs, small ladles, spaghetti servers, and spoons that have deep bowls. Providers help by eating with children, modeling conversational give and take, and suggesting words to use when asking for foods. Remind children to look directly at the person from whom they are requesting the food. Remind them to call the person’s name. This means not over-tilting the container causing food to spill out onto their clothes or hands. Consider putting small amounts of food in pitchers and bowls and increasing the amounts as the child gets more skilled. Believe it or not…neither children nor adults enjoy the interruption of spills! Be sure there are several pitchers or bowls on the table so waiting is not too long. Match the skills the children have for waiting, the number of children at the table, and the number of serving bowls. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho) Other research has shown that children learn a variety of skills for serving themselves. Here are some of those skills that child care providers and parents can help children acquire. Bowls with rims and pitchers with covers make beginning attempts at this task easier. Using plastic pitchers instead of heavy glass of china. Use smaller size serving pieces. Children need reminders to look at the person who is passing or receiving the bowl or pitcher. Toddlers can start “passing” with the child care provider who is already skilled in “passing” and “looking” as they pass food containers. Toddlers and even 3 year olds need to be reminded to “look” as they pass. Toddlers are busy learning the task of holding and at the same time moving the bowl of food or pitcher of milk. They maybe unable to also focus on the 3rd task of watching the other person in the duet of passing food around the table. Judging space for the bowl pitcher and how much space it will take is a task best learned through trail and error. Children learn how far from the edge to place bowls, so they do not become imbalanced and fall off of the table. The provider can remind children to move containers and point out where a bowl or pitcher can be placed. Provide utensils that are balanced, fairly lightweight, and have short handles that are small enough for young children’s hands to grasp all the way around. Try lightweight ice cream scoops, small tongs, small ladles, spaghetti servers, and spoons that have deep bowls. Providers help by eating with children, modeling conversational give and take, and suggesting words to use when asking for foods. Remind children to look directly at the person from whom they are requesting the food. Remind them to call the person’s name. This means not over-tilting the container causing food to spill out onto their clothes or hands. Consider putting small amounts of food in pitchers and bowls and increasing the amounts as the child gets more skilled. Believe it or not…neither children nor adults enjoy the interruption of spills! Be sure there are several pitchers or bowls on the table so waiting is not too long. Match the skills the children have for waiting, the number of children at the table, and the number of serving bowls. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho)

30. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Skills Children Developed by Serving Themselves (cont.) Learn the difference between serving utensils and personal eating utensils. Keep themselves and others safe from cross contamination. Judge how much to put on their plates. Broaden their tastes. Children are often reluctant to try new foods. Studies show that it takes 7-10 times for a child to acquire a taste for something new and different. Provider appropriate child friendly utensils and bowls with rounded sides that offer space to push food with the utensil against the rounded sides of the bowl. Talk them through the process of getting food with the utensil. Put your hands over their hands to guide them, talk them through it, or use gestures to show how. The initial novelty of serving self sometimes is reflected in children over serving their plates. This is usually short lived and resolves itself when children routinely serve themselves. Remind children they can have second helpings, if they are still hungry. To help children learn to judge amounts for pouring and scooping, try offering pouring and scooping activities at the sand or water table. Set out some pitchers and cups and glasses with water for a small group time. These non-food pouring/scooping activities give children practice. Make sure there is plenty of food for children to get full. Sometimes you may run out of a desired food. With children older than 3, it is appropriate to talk about how much is left. Discuss how “we” can each have a small bit of the remaining food, if “we” are still hungry. Give the option of eating some or not. Tell the children that you will be sure the food is served again. For younger children, remove the bowl from sight and redirect the child to more plentiful food on the table. This skill is combined with the skill of delaying eating until they have switched hands from the serving utensils to their own spoon or fork. Make a definite and obvious difference in the size of the utensils they eat with and the size of the serving utensils. Choose forks, knives, and spoons that are child sized. Provide forks that have dull tines, spoons with rounded blunt ends, and knives with rounded ends Hand washing is an obvious skill here. This includes techniques for proper hand washing, as well as knowing WHEN to WASH. Providers can make this task fun by singing songs or saying rhymes that take about 20 seconds of time. This task includes using napkins instead of licking their hands, using only their own plates and flatware, and keeping their food on their plates. Parents are often surprised that their child will eat foods at preschool that they refused to eat at home. Often times it can be the positive peer pressure of seeing other children taste and enjoy a new food. No child should ever be forced to eat something or to clean their plate. When a child is just learning to like new foods, there will be more food waste. In serving themselves children learn how to estimate their own level of hunger and by taking repeated small helpings they’ll take responsibility for their own eating. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho)Provider appropriate child friendly utensils and bowls with rounded sides that offer space to push food with the utensil against the rounded sides of the bowl. Talk them through the process of getting food with the utensil. Put your hands over their hands to guide them, talk them through it, or use gestures to show how. The initial novelty of serving self sometimes is reflected in children over serving their plates. This is usually short lived and resolves itself when children routinely serve themselves. Remind children they can have second helpings, if they are still hungry. To help children learn to judge amounts for pouring and scooping, try offering pouring and scooping activities at the sand or water table. Set out some pitchers and cups and glasses with water for a small group time. These non-food pouring/scooping activities give children practice. Make sure there is plenty of food for children to get full. Sometimes you may run out of a desired food. With children older than 3, it is appropriate to talk about how much is left. Discuss how “we” can each have a small bit of the remaining food, if “we” are still hungry. Give the option of eating some or not. Tell the children that you will be sure the food is served again. For younger children, remove the bowl from sight and redirect the child to more plentiful food on the table. This skill is combined with the skill of delaying eating until they have switched hands from the serving utensils to their own spoon or fork. Make a definite and obvious difference in the size of the utensils they eat with and the size of the serving utensils. Choose forks, knives, and spoons that are child sized. Provide forks that have dull tines, spoons with rounded blunt ends, and knives with rounded ends Hand washing is an obvious skill here. This includes techniques for proper hand washing, as well as knowing WHEN to WASH. Providers can make this task fun by singing songs or saying rhymes that take about 20 seconds of time. This task includes using napkins instead of licking their hands, using only their own plates and flatware, and keeping their food on their plates. Parents are often surprised that their child will eat foods at preschool that they refused to eat at home. Often times it can be the positive peer pressure of seeing other children taste and enjoy a new food. No child should ever be forced to eat something or to clean their plate. When a child is just learning to like new foods, there will be more food waste. In serving themselves children learn how to estimate their own level of hunger and by taking repeated small helpings they’ll take responsibility for their own eating. (Fletcher and Branen, University of Idaho)

31. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Activities that Promote Family Style Eating Use interesting plates, cups, place mats, cloth or paper napkins and eating utensils. Allow children to set the table the way they want. Allow children to take turns setting the table for snack as well as meals. Let children make choices when “you” set the table…”Do you want the red cup or the blue cup?” (Charlotte Hendricks, Western Kentucky University, www.healthy child.net)(Charlotte Hendricks, Western Kentucky University, www.healthy child.net)

32. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Factors to Consider Before Initiating Family Style Service Have a variety of age- appropriate serving utensils and containers. Ensure all children can reach the table. Have enough table space to accommodate serving bowls.

33. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Factors to Consider Before Initiating Family Style Service (cont.) Child care provider should be available to supervise & ensure sanitary food handling. It may require patience for children to learn to take what they will eat. It can be messy at first.

34. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Questions and Comments What else can providers do to promote family style meals in their businesses and with the families they provide services for? We know through research that most eating habits are established at infancy through parents and child care providers Good eating habits: >promote superior growth and development in the child >decrease the chance for obesity and diet-related disease in later life >establish a healthy well-being that can be held throughout the lifespanWe know through research that most eating habits are established at infancy through parents and child care providers Good eating habits: >promote superior growth and development in the child >decrease the chance for obesity and diet-related disease in later life >establish a healthy well-being that can be held throughout the lifespan

35. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension For More Information Contact: Sheila Gains, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator Arapahoe County Office, 303-730-1920 Ann Zander, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator Boulder County Office 303-678-6238

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