Teaching children about healthy eating at an early age is crucial in laying the foundations for choices that they may make in later life. A healthy diet is essential to promote good wellbeing and will have a positive effect a child’s behaviour, moods and concentration and ability to learn.
Here are some ideas about how to encourage healthy eating and discourage fussy eaters;
- Eat together in a relaxed atmosphere and, where possible, serve the children the same food as you are eating.
- Keep to a regular routine of meals with regular snacks of fruit in between. By avoiding grazing on sugary or unhealthier foods the children will be hungry at meal times.
- Respect a child’s tastes and preferences. Often they are being presented with foods that are new and look unfamiliar so they may want to ‘explore’ this before actually putting it in their mouths. Give them a little taste initially and give them some control. It can take up to fifteen ‘goes’ before a child will accept a new food – but their tastes do change so keep trying every now and then.
- Give them praise for trying new foods.
- Don’t insist on all the food on the plate being eaten.
- Don’t use food as a reward or a comfort.
- Offer regular drinks of water and preferably from a cup.
- If you have the time……take the children shopping with you so that they can choose vegetables and fruit.
- If you have the space……grow the vegetables in the garden so that the children can help with the gardening, harvesting and cooking.