Research found 35 per cent of the 2,000 mums and dads polled said sitting down to dinner with everyone was a ‘stressful’ experience.
And 41 per cent struggle to enjoy their own meal because their child is fussy with food.
As a result, one in six would often prefer to have a sitting for the children first and eat their own meal in peace later on.
But more than a fifth claim it doesn’t help that they aren’t confident in their own ability to serve up a meal everyone will like.
While 54 per cent wish they had help in the kitchen, so they could serve up quick, tasty and healthy meals the family were guaranteed to enjoy.
John Lewis Partnership, which commissioned the study, is joining forces with the charity Home-Start UK to launch Healthy Happy Homes – a programme designed to help families improve their health and wellbeing.
Joanne Lunn, a nutritionist for the Partnership, said: “We know mealtimes can be really stressful for families, with parents worried they aren’t getting the balance of foods right or that fussy eating will get in the way of eating healthily.
“Small changes to how families approach meals can make a big difference.
“We’ve shared some of our top tips with Home-Start volunteers, such as getting children involved in meal planning and preparation; letting children select their own food from a communal bowl or serving sauces on the side.
“Easy changes like this really can make mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone.”
The study also found feeding the children too much sugar, not enough vegetables and a meal which lacks variety are among the top concerns parents have.
While 56 per cent struggle to get their child to eat a healthy balance of fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates.
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of children have even been known to ask for a

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