Do kids eat what parents eat?
As a parent or caregiver, you play a very important role in influencing your children’s eating habits. You have considerable influence over what your kids eat by creating an environment where you encourage them to try new foods and teach them about nutrition. It's best to introduce your children to foods early on because this may help them develop healthy eating habits later in life.
Your child's first years of life are a milestone in their development. They will go from an exclusive milk diet to a modified adult diet. Children's early years are crucial for shaping their future knowledge about food and eating habits, as well as their health. Parents play an incredibly powerful role in these aspects of their children's lives - as they provide their children with genetics and environmental support.
Here are a few tips to help you provide an supportive environment at mealtimes for your children:
Eat together as a family
Children who eat with their families tend to make better food choices and are less likely to be overweight. Eating with your family does not only help you develop healthy eating habits but improve the quality of your relationships as well.
Have healthy foods at home
Eating is a learned behavior. Studies have shown that the foods available in your home are what your children will be accustomed to eating. That's why you should be mindful of what your kids see, taste and eat at home.
Avoid using food as a reward or punishment
Rather than using food as a reward or punishment, offer a variety of healthy foods at meal and snack time. Try not to label foods as “good” or “bad” and let your children serve themselves without any pressure.
Make healthy foods the usual choice
When your children see what you're eating, they're more likely to eat well - which means eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When your children see you eating these, they are more likely to want to eat them too.
Avoid pressuring your children to eat
Insisting that your kids eat a certain diet may contribute to them eating less since they will be more likely to listen to their hunger levels. Rather than restricting their calories or foods, trust that kids' bodies will know when they've eaten enough.
Parents need to lead by example, particularly when it comes to food. Offer healthy options and emphasize good eating habits because this is how the children will grow up. Habits like these can last a lifetime!
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