Here are more tips to teach your child to practice healthy eating habits.
WORDS RACHEL KWEK
Teaching your child healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be difficult, not with these tips from the experts.
Eat as a Family
Make it a habit to sit down and eat as a family. Besides being a wonderful chance for bonding, mealtimes present the opportunity for your child to learn mealtime routines and table manners. Creating enjoyable dining experiences will encourage your child to participate. Remember to put away the gadgets and turn off the television!
He Eats What You Eat
Ever been to a restaurant or party that distinguishes between “adult food” and “kids food”? The truth is they are no different! Your tot can eat pretty much what you can eat (other than alcohol and, to be on the safe side, raw food). Don’t get him used to the idea that he needs “baby food” and be firm about what he can or cannot eat. This helps him develop healthy food choices and prevents picky eating.
Educate Your Kids
Teach them what foods are good for them and why healthy eating is important. Inculcate a respect for food and meal times by setting aside a proper place and time to eat; teach them not to waste food by providing them with just the amount they need. Times when you shop for ingredients, cook and eat together, are great opportunities to educate them.
Ensure a Balanced Diet
This is the key to good nutrition. Be sure to include all the food groups in your child’s meals. You’ll always be on the right track with whole grains, good quality protein and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. For children aged three to six, the Health Promotion Board recommends three to four servings of carbohydrates, two servings of fruits and vegetables and three servings of meat and others a day. Karin Graubard-Reiter, nutritionist and founder of Nutritious N’ Delicious says eating fresh fruits and vegetables of different colours will make sure your kids get their needed doses of different vitamins and minerals.
Follow a Feeding Schedule
Plan a feeding schedule with three meals and two snacks for your tot and train him to follow it. Teaching children to wait for their next meal or snack even if they are hungry help regulate their appetite and prevents them from overeating, Dr Priyantha Edison, staff registrar, Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, SGH says. Doing so also increases the likelihood that children will eat what is served. Allowing your tot to feed himself also helps him learn to take charge of what he eats. Dr Edison adds that consuming too much milk or juice in lieu of food can also diminish his appetite.
Walk the Talk
Remember: Your tot observes and learns from you, so eat what and the way you want him to.
By adhering to good parental practices and developing good eating habits, you can ensure that your child grows up strong and healthy and enjoy healthy feeding relationships with people who care for them.