As a parent you want your kid to be as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, too many parents don’t realize the importance of instilling healthy eating habits in their children from an early age.
If that doesn’t happen, it can take a lot of time and effort to reverse bad habits, which in the meantime can affect the children’s overall health, both physically and mentally.
Healthy habits from infancy to adulthood
When you look at the statistics, it’s incredible how many toddlers have poor eating habits. Those can have lifelong effects. To help promote better habits in your house, here are some ways to teach your child how to eat healthy.
1. Types of foods
One of the best things about having a small child is watching him or her try new things for the first time. This is especially true with food. You never know what your child might fall in love with; it’s OK to offer a variety of healthy foods so long as it doesn’t bother their stomach and they’re getting all the nutrients they need.
Just be clear that you’re in charge of what foods your child can eat, otherwise he or she might try to take control of the diet and it can get very unhealthy very fast, especially if your child follows the lead of playmates.
2. Portions and frequency
A growing child can eat a lot. Typically, a toddler can eat three meals and two snacks a day. However, it’s important to realize that a toddler’s portion is going to be drastically smaller than an adult’s or even that of a school-age kid.
Also, little children can be hard to predict and their eating habits might change from day to day. As long as you offer your child a balanced diet over the span of a week, nutrition will even out and he or she will get everything needed from the diet.
3. Pay attention
Babies and toddlers obviously have limited ways of expressing themselves. But if you pay attention to them, they can tell you a lot.
It’s important not only to track what healthy foods your child enjoys, but notice how those foods interact with his or her body and cues that your little one is hungry (words, sounds, and pointing) or full (verbal cues or playing with food instead of eating). Children who are prone to symptoms of colic, upset stomachs, or gas should avoid certain foods, and it’s your job to watch for meals that appear to have that effect.