It is important your child develops healthy eating habits from an early age so that when they reach adulthood maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will be easier.
The last thing you want to do is make a big deal about what your child eats, or make an issue out of food so it is important you thread carefully.
Here are seven tips to help you get started:
1. Plan your meals
This means you will know exactly what you are having each night thus preventing cooking fatigue which often ends up with a take-out.
2. Take the kids food shopping
Increase your child’s knowledge on food and get them interested in what they eat by taking them with you when you go shopping.
3. Talk about food in a positive way
Avoid discussing how food can impact you negatively and never talk about eating and body image within ear shot of your child.
4. Make happy food memories
Associate eating with happy memories, so enjoy family dinners, healthy picnics and Sunday lunches as often as possible – these will reminisce with your child as they approach adulthood.
5. Don’t force them to eat something
Dealing with picky eaters is tough but you should never force your child to eat something, even if it’s good for them. Children go through periods of liking and disliking food, so instead of standing over them while you demand they eat it, offer it to them a number of times. The last thing you want is your child to associate food with bad feeling.
6. Allow them have a treat
Forbidding your child from having certain foods can cause them to rebel against you when you are older. Instead, allowing them have a treat in moderation will help them value and appreciate when they can have one.
7. Don’t use food as a punishment or a reward
Never send your child to bed without their dinner or give them sweets as a reward: your youngster will begin to fear feeling hungry and overcompensate or think that sweets are better than healthy, nutritious dishes.