Installing Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

We are not born knowing what to eat. Healthy eating is something we all have to learn as children - like how to love brussels sprout - or not.

It's true that once kids get their first taste of crunchy, sweet or salty foods, it's hard to get them unhooked.

Even if your kid is used to eating junk food, there are small changes you can make to promote healthy eating habits. It's all about setting up precedents and the right expectations. Try these healthy eating tips.

Limit the number of treats that kids are allowed to eat each day rather than forbidding them outright. Allowing less healthy foods occasionally keeps them from seeming even more appealing.

When cooking dinner, it doesn't have to be fancy but try to make it balanced by choosing at least one item from each of the four food groups - bread and cereals, vegetables and fruit, milk products, and proteins such as lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs and dried beans, peas and lentils.

Make simple meals ahead of time and freeze them. That way, when you're tired or short of time you've got an easy healthy meal on hand and you'll be less tempted to resort to takeaways.

Cook with your kids. Take them shopping and encourage them to help choose the groceries. If your children get involved in choosing or preparing meals, they'll be more interested in eating them.

Kids mimic adults so be aware of the kinds of food messages you're sending. Balance your treats with smart food choices - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products - as well as physical activity and your kids will learn to do the same.

At Rotorua HomeBased Childcare, we aim to support parents trying to install healthy eating habits in their children.

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