Nutrition expert Glenn Cardwell provides his top 10 tips to getting kids to eat well, no matter what their age or stage.
1. All food is good
It is the amount and frequency in which they are consumed that makes them either good or bad for your child’s health.
2. Listen to their appetite
Avoid forcing a child to eat everything on their plate, it is okay for them to leave food. Let them eat to their appetite.
3. Encourage children to eat slowly
Slower eating means that the amount they eat better suits their appetite. Fast eating usually results in them eating more food than their body requires.
4. Respect that a child’s tastes will change over time
During infancy and toddlerhood a new food may need to be offered up to ten times before a child will try it. Over the years, children will become more adventurous with their food choices. Give it time.
5. The occasional snack is okay
Even snacks that are relatively high in fat, sugar or salt are fine if given only two to three times a week. Of course, there are many wholesome snacks that can be eaten daily, such as fruit and sandwiches.
6. Breakfast is an important meal
Encourage children to have regular meals. Breakfast is important because children think better, learn better and behave better if they start the day off with a wholesome meal.
7. Make wise fast foods choices
Fast foods are not sinful as many are now offered with plenty of salad options. The bigger fast food chains provide the nutrition profile of all their dishes, allowing parents to make smarter, better choices.
8. Be positive about food
Children are more likely to adopt good eating habits if parents are positive about the foods they offer and avoid making negative statements about food or their children’s eating habits.
9. Family meals are good for everyone’s health
Try to eat as a family as often as possible. This let’s children appreciate food and understand what good eating habits are. It also gives an opportunity for the family to catch up on what’s going on in each of their lives.
10. Be a wonderful role model
This is the most important thing you can do as a parent. If you eat well, eat a variety of foods and are positive about your meals, then there is an excellent chance your children will follow.
Disclaimer: This article provides general advice only. Readers should seek independent professional advice from their general practitioner or dietitian in relation to their own individual circumstances or condition before making any decisions based on the information in this article.