Web Content Viewer (JSR 286) - Healthy Weight

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Boy eating a bananaChildren learn from their parents and carers. If you want your children to eat well, set a good example. If you help them form healthy eating habits early, they’re more likely to stick with them for life. So here are some good habits to start them on the right path.

Eat with your kids, as a family, without the distraction of the television. Children benefit from routines, so try to eat meals at regular times. Make sure your kids eat breakfast too – it’s a good source of energy and nutrients to help them start the day. Good choices are high-fibre, low-sugar cereals or wholegrain toast. It’s also a good idea to prepare healthy snacks in advance for them to eat in between meals.

Encourage children to drink water or milk rather than soft drinks, cordial, sports drinks or fruit juice drinks – don’t keep these in the fridge or pantry. Children over the age of two years can be given reduced fat milk, but children under the age of two years should be given full cream milk.

Include some salad items, vegetables and/or legumes with every lunch and dinner. When eating out as a family, choose wisely. The kids’ menu may include foods they like that are high in energy (kilojoules) and salt and usually fried. Limit takeaway meals to once a week.

Keep unhealthy foods and drinks as special occasion foods – not everyday foods. Don’t use food, desserts or sweetened drinks as rewards. And if your child is upset, comfort them with attention and hugs rather than offers of unhealthy food. Avoid classifying foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Instead, educate your children on the healthy and less healthy food choices and involve them in choosing and preparing healthy meals. 

Kids usually know when they’re full, so don’t force them to finish what’s on their plate or to eat foods they don’t enjoy. Be aware, however, that children can need to be offered and taste a food many times before they decide they like it.

The Heart Foundation, Shape Up Australia and Go for 2 & 5 websites contain tips for healthy family meals and lunch boxes and ideas for boosting the amount of fruit and veg in your child’s diet.

 

 

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