Every child is an individual and develops at his or her own pace. Children grow and learn continually, but not always in a smooth-flowing pattern. The early years of life are important for developing healthy habits to continue throughout life.
Following tips can help you develop healthy eating habits in children
Choosing and preparing food
- Go for foods that are low in salt. Choose fresh vegetables and legumes. Try to limit store-bought sauces, soups and canned foods.
- Try to limit snack foods and drinks that contain added sugar, e.g., sweets, cakes, flavoured yoghurts, soft drink and juice.
- Prepare foods at home, so they are tasty without adding much salt or sugar.
- Choose water as a drink. Avoid soft drinks.
- Prepare and store food correctly.
- Involve your child in choosing, preparing and cooking food. This will help in boosting their interest in trying different foods.
Meal and snack ideas
- Meals and snacks can look more attractive when they have different colours and shapes (e.g. use melon balls on fruit or use biscuit cutters for different sandwich shapes).
- Include vegetables at 2 or 3 meal times over the day (e.g. as a snack, on a sandwich at lunch, grated into dal or stir fry at dinner).
- Allow your child to choose between options (e.g. between 2 types of fruit, between 2 sandwich fillings).
- Replace sugar-sweetened drinks with water. Give them fresh fruit slices in special shapes.
- Swap sweetened desserts for cut-up fruit or mishti doi.
- How children develop: Food and nutrition (1 to 5 years) [Internet]. Available at: http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/8/78/372/how-children-develop-food-and-nutrition-1-to. Accessed on Feb 24, 2020.