As parents there are various ways you can have a positive impact on your children's long-term eating behaviours. We've come up with some key ways in which you can help establish healthy habits for life. We'd also love to hear any tips you may have.
Set an example. As parents, you will need to set the example as your children will model their eating behaviour from you. If your kids don't see you enjoying a balanced diet — it will be much more difficult for you to convince them they should eat well!
Remember, eating habits established as a child are carried throughout life! Enjoy meal times together and try and involve your children in meal preparation whether it is the shopping, washing, peeling or cooking. Kids are more likely to eat what they have helped prepare.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle for life. Consciously thinking about your child's food choices and also the meals you, as a parent, prepare is an important step in encouraging healthy, nutritious food choices in your own home. Paired with you, as a parent, setting a good example, you will assist your children to develop healthy habits for life. Remember, eating habits established as a child are carried throughout life.
Encourage variety. A healthy diet is vital for children of all ages from toddlers to teenagers, especially during periods of rapid growth. To give children the best start to living a healthy lifestyle, it is important to introduce a wide variety of food from all the food groups to establish a good nutritional foundation.
Enjoy meal times together, in a relaxed, enjoyable manner. This becomes a key time to catch up on each family member's daily events.
Don't exclude sweets and higher fat snacks all together. Instead, offer them as "sometimes" foods rather than an everyday option. This will teach your children the importance of balanced eating and "everything in moderation".
Be a role model. Demonstrate how being active is fun and can be incorporated into your family's everyday life.
Remember, if it is in the house — it will be eaten! As parents you can control what is in the pantry or refrigerator.