Helpful Hints for Feeding Children
Getting your children to eat healthy can be difficult, but teaching your children at an early age can help them build a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Following a few of these helpful hints could be the first step you make as a family toward better health.
- Make mealtime calm and enjoyable: no arguing, no excessive urging to eat. The more you try to coax your child to eat, the more likely there is to be a feeding problem.
- Fill mealtime with pleasant, positive conversation about the day's events, future plans, activities, etc.
- Provide balanced meals offering a variety of foods and realistic portion sizes (do not overwhelm with large servings). The four basic food groups or the Food Guide Pyramid are good guides for planning balanced meals for the whole family.
- Serve meals at regular times to help promote appetite.
- Avoid fatigue at mealtime. Sometimes a nap before meals can help.
- One or two healthy snacks a day are recommended for toddlers and school-age children.
- Do not use food as a reward, punishment, or battleground for disagreement.
- Sometimes, being allowed to help prepare meals can stimulate an interest in food. The internet, library, and bookstores are full of recipes and cookbooks for children. Even the very young can prepare certain types of food and help set the table!