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Child Care: Develop Good and Proper Eating Habits for Children

Child Care: Develop Good and Proper Eating Habits for Children

Child Care: Develop Good and Proper Eating Habits for Children


Children need to be well nourished to support their very rapid brain development. At this young age about 48% of the calories they consume are fundamental to brain function. In addition, only when children get the required nutrients can they reach their potential in physical growth and motor coordination.

Although adults (parents and teachers) have primary responsibility for children's nutrition, we must help children become responsible for their own eating habits so they can make good choices throughout their life. Making wise food choices is most easily learned in childhood. When good nutrition is consistently practiced throughout childhood, children are much more likely to adopt the habits for life.Child Care: Develop Good and Proper Eating Habits for Children

The following list includes ideas to help your child acquire healthy nutritional habits:

Be a good role model to build positive attitudes toward all foods. Offer a variety of foods to your child.

Set a predictable, scheduled time for snacks and meals. Children love routine and as you know will get grumpy if they are overly hungry.

Make mealtime a family ritual that your child looks forward to. Make conversation the focal point instead of evaluating the food and dissecting it.

Keep snack portions modest and avoid high fat and high sugar foods.

Teach your child to eat until he is full, not stuffed. He will learn to regulate his fuel needs early on and there will be less chance of overeating.

Introduce new foods one at a time with favorite foods.

Serve foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, or toasted.

Avoid foods that have strong spices or are too hot. Taste buds are very sensitive at a young age.

Involve your child in food preparation. Participation builds pride so your child is more likely to try a food she has helped to prepare.

Be matter of fact about having your child try new foods. Don't make any deals; simply state that you expect him to try a bite and leave it at that.

Try not to be offended if your child thinks what you have made is gross. Calmly tell her that she doesn't need to like it, she just needs to try it and explain how it fuels her body to do all the things she likes to do.

Using food or fast food restaurants as a reward could set the stage for eating problems. Food is fuel, not a bargaining chip.

Plant a garden or fruit trees. Children are more apt to try foods they have planted and harvested.

Address your child's picky eating issues by reading Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban or Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat.

Source: Creme: The Scoop, Spring 2010, Volume 8 Number 2
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Child Care: Develop Good and Proper Eating Habits for Children