Helping your child to develop healthy eating habits is a priority for many parents. Here are five great ways to help improve your child’s eating habits.
1. Be a Good Role Model
How you eat impacts how young children eat as they are likely to copy your eating habits. When your children see you enjoying fruit and vegetables they are likely to copy and develop good eating behaviours at a young age. Cooking with your children will help this process as they are more likely to taste what they have helped to cook. Try cooking new foods with them to inspire them to try new healthy foods too.
2. Educate your kids in the right types of fats
There are good fats (unsaturated) and bad fats (Trans and saturated fats). Bad fats increase the amount of bad cholesterol in our blood, replacing bad fats with good fats helps to reduce cholesterol. For example swap: full fat dairy products to skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and reduce fat cheese.
Good fats - Nuts, oils, avocado, lean cuts of meat and fish.
Bad fats- butter, meats with a high proportion of fat (beef, lamb and pork), crisps and pastries.
3. Get the kids to read food labels
Whilst shopping in the supermarket, get the kids involved in reading food labels and decide together whether the item of food is a good choice or not. This will help to increase their knowledge of what they are eating and their understanding of different ingredients. When shopping, choose products with fewer calories per portion and stick to portion size to reduce over eating.
4. Regular meal times
Reduce the amount of snacking throughout the day with consistent meal times. Children are less likely to snack and crave unhealthy foods if they know what time dinner is, and are more likely to eat their meal. A protein rich breakfast will leave them feeling fuller for longer, eggs and beans are a great option. Eating a healthy lunch whilst at school is just as important, if your child is eating school lunches review the menu with them and identify the healthy options.
5. Don’t ban Junk food
Junk food and treats are good occasionally. By banning them, children are likely to only want them more. Try not to reward or punish children by giving or taking away junk food as this can lead to an unhealthy association with junk food.