Children should be involved at mealtimes

Parents should aim to involve their children in the preparation of meals, as doing so will bring many benefits for the youngsters. This is the view of Glasgow-based Chartered Psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson, speaking in response to a University of Illinois study that showed that eating as a family can help combat obesity in adolescence.

Dr Fergusson explains that including youngsters in cooking can make them feel a part of the process, as well as helping them learn all about different foods.

She advises: "If you have some pizza bases and you all put together a pizza, kids can get involved. Obviously centre it around healthy food or a healthy meal."

Mums and dads may also want to be organised in their eating practices, as Dr Fergusson recommended keeping meals structured in order to get everybody eating together.

With the television switched off, the family will be encouraged to talk about what they have been up to during the day, she adds.