Kids do better with routine: Eat your meals at regular times. If your child can’t count on a regular mealtime, he may overeat at one meal, or snack on fattening foods between meals. Irregular eating keeps him from “tuning in” to his body’s natural cues for hunger and satisfaction which may lead to poor eating habits. It’s very important not to skip meals -- especially breakfast.
Eat as a family: Sit down and eat with your child. Involve them in helping to prepare meals. Talk about how healthy eating can help the whole family. Turn off the TV, radio and cell phones while you eating.
Plan meals and snacks: Healthy eating takes time and energy. Prepare snacks and meals ahead of time. It is important to feed your child before he is too hungry to avoid eating foods that are easy to grab and less healthy. Planning meals and snacks allows you to have healthy options available for your kids to grab on the go.
Drink more water: Teach your child to drink water when he’s thirsty instead of juices, sodas, sports drinks, sweet tea, or sugary powdered drink mixes. The extra sugar and calories in these drinks can keep your child from eating a healthy meal later. Also, drinks with a lot of sugar can lead to weight gain, and tooth decay.
Keep it simple: Limit your child’s choices at meals. Offer him several healthy choices of foods including some you know he likes. Then let him decide which of the choices he wants to eat.
Limit temptations: Avoid having a lot of junk foods such as chips, cookies and candy around the house; these are high in calories and fat. It is hard to keep from eating these foods if they are always around.
Limit TV time: Set limits on how much time your child spends watching TV and playing video games. Less than 2 hours daily is advised -- even less is better. Spending too much time just sitting can lead to weight gain. Teach your child to enjoy physical activity by encouraging them to play outside or by joining an athletic team. Kids need at least 1 hour of physical activity outside of school each day. Be a good role model for your child by taking stairs instead of an elevator or picking a parking space further away from a store entrance.
Make changes you can live with: Avoid trying to change everything about your child’s eating habits overnight. This will just frustrate you, your child, and the rest of your family. Focus on one or two problem areas in your family’s eating habits and work on improving them together.