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Modeling Healthy Eating Habits at Home

 

Did you know?!  

Mealtimes play a crucial role in shaping healthy food habits in young children.

During mealtimes, you have the opportunity to model healthy eating habits by offering and trying a variety of foods, establishing positive mealtime routines, and even reducing picky eating!   

A few ways that you can use your mealtimes as a way to shape healthy food habits with your child include: 

Modeling behavior: Children often mimic the eating habits of their parents and caregivers. Eating balanced meals together is a great way to role-model healthy eating habits. This is a great time to also model table manners and proper mealtime etiquette!  

 

Establishing routine: Regular mealtimes help establish a routine for eating, which can reduce snacking and encourage healthier food choices. This can also help develop healthy eating habits, such as recognizing hunger cues independently. 

 During mealtimes, create routines such as sitting together as a family, setting, and cleaning up together. Use these routines to connect and create a positive meal experience.  

 

Exposure to variety: Offering a variety of foods at mealtimes exposes children to different tastes, textures, and flavors, increasing the likelihood that they will enjoy a diverse range of foods and can help reduce picky eating.  

 Remember: it takes many exposures to new foods for children to feel comfortable trying it. Always encourage your child to try new foods presented during mealtimes, even if the last time they did not – you never know when this might change!  

 

Building Relationships: Eating together as a family can create positive associations with mealtimes and food, making children more likely to enjoy healthy eating as they grow older. This is a great time to unplug and connect with one another. Ask questions about their day that prompt thoughtful conversation and build strong relationships.   

 

Control over food choices: Allowing children to participate in meal planning, preparation, and serving can give them a sense of control over their food choices, leading to healthier eating habits. Let your child help set the table and even prepare parts of the meal! When it is time to sit down together, encourage them to make their own plate.  

 

Overall, mealtimes provide an opportunity to establish healthy eating habits in children by modeling behavior, offering a variety of foods, and creating a positive and enjoyable eating environment. As a family, establish these meaningful mealtime moments together, and you’ll not only be creating healthy eating habits and routines, but you’ll also be creating quality relationships and memories that last a lifetime!