Encouraging Healthy Eating
Healthy Eating Habits Start with You
Children absorb everything from their parents, so teaching children about good nutrition should start early with the parents setting the example of the healthy eating habits. When children see their parents consistently making healthy choices and fostering an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle they are more likely to take on these behaviors both inside and outside of the home. Children are exposed to all types of food when away from parents, so teaching children about portion control and having a healthy relationship with all types of food (including the unhealthy) is also important to avoid disordered eating behaviors. Some ideas for teaching children about good nutrition are below:
How Can I Encourage Healthy Eating?
Make it a fun, family activity:
Cook a meal together, include all family members in the activity, with younger member completing age appropriate activities!
Try out new recipes, rotate letting each family member choosing a recipe each week
let each child try a new fruit or vegetable at the store.
Research one new food or dish each week (like a dish from another country or culture) discuss what it is and try making it or going out to a restaurant together. Be sure to check out our Easy Pad Thai Recipe!
Always have healthy snacks available:
Precut vegetables and fruit so they are easily accessible when children are hungry
give them choices, occasionally offer a less healthy choice but keep to recommended serving sizes, praise children when a healthier choice is made but do not make them feel bad about making a less healthy choice.
Establish other healthful habits surrounding eating:
- Always portion snacks into containers
- Have meals at a table, not in front of the T.V.
- Encourage eating slowly to allow the body time to digest and hunger signals to dissipate
- Establish rules where children have to try new foods like eating the same number of bites as their age before deciding they don’t like it
- When eating out encourage healthier options and offer praise for these choices
For more information check out our Vegan Toddler Meal Plan. We also recommend joining the Facebook Group Ask A Plant Based Dietitian, for 24/7 access to registered dietitians, as well as affordable meal planning.
Tags: children's health, encouraging healthy eating, family meal time, family meals, healthy eating, healthy eating habits, healthy habits, making smart food choices, meal prep, portions, smart snacking, toddler