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Healthy Eating

Be a positive role model

Kids will often follow your lead and are more likely to enjoy a variety of foods if you do.

  • Eat as a family so other family members can act as role models
  • Praise self-feeding skills, but maintain a neutral attitude about your child's food intake
  • Never pressure your child to eat
  • Don't beg, plead, or bargain with your child to try something
  • Avoid distractions such as toys, books, tablets, or TV during meals
  • If a food is rejected by your child, don’t get hung up on it and try again another day

Establish a family routine

Regular meal and snack times help establish a healthy eating routine:

  • Offer three meals a day and snacks in between because children need the sustained energy
  • Try to always feed your child in a high chair or at a table
  • Encourage your child to eat what the family is eating, even if it's a small amount, rather than cooking a separate meal for him or her

Involve your child

Pick recipes, grocery-shop, and cook with your kid — children are more likely to eat the food they participated in preparing and you'll have help in the kitchen!

With a toddler:
  • Introduce new foods at the grocery store
  • Add pre-measured ingredients to recipes
  • Stir ingredients
With a preschooler:
  • Measure and weigh ingredients
  • Describe tastes, smells, and textures of the meal
  • Help with food plating

Be portion savvy

Start with small portions and let them ask for more. When introducing new foods, give your kid a choice about which new food he or she is going to try and make sure to couple it with a favourite.

  • Serve age-appropriate foods and portions
  • Introduce new foods one at a time
  • Teach eating to fullness by serving small portions and offering a new helping when the previous one is consumed

Make mealtime fun

Play with foods — serve a sandwich in the shape of a heart or use food to make fun faces or animals on your child's plate.

  • Encourage independent feeding and tolerate age-appropriate messiness
  • Forget the “Clean Plate Club” and encourage your child to try new foods when ready
  • Present new foods in various forms; for example, some vegetables can be introduced cooked, raw, in soups, or in smoothies. The more often your child is exposed to a new food, the more likely he or she will be to eat it willingly.
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