How to promote a positive relationship with food.
How much do I feed my child?
Regardless of a child’s age, parents often worry that their child is not getting enough food. So how much is enough? Your child knows.
Healthy eating is about learning to gauge your own internal hunger cues. Kids naturally know how much food their body needs. And they can establish these cues when they eat in an environment free from pressure, rewards and bribing.
Developing good nutritional habits is the foundation of your child’s health. The learning starts when your child is an infant. Your child will take these healthy eating skills with them into adulthood.
What role does my child play?
To understand your child’s role, you have to trust that your child knows how much to eat. Let your child decide how much to eat. When a child eats according to their appetite the amounts may vary day-to-day. On some days it may look like they don’t eat much and that’s okay.
Listen to your child when they say they are full. Your child has a keen ability to regulate their hunger and fullness cues. They are more likely to stop eating when they are full rather than when the plate is empty.
What role do parents play?
You don’t need to pressure your child to eat. Your job is to provide a balanced diet with lots of new flavours and textures. The exposure to food in childhood lasts a life time, so help them develop good eating habits when they are young.
It is important to keep the food interesting and to establish a routine for children. Children can and do learn to accept a variety of foods over time. If you are worried about your child’s eating, consult with a registered dietitian at HealthLink BC.
Your job as a parent is to be a role model for healthy eating, providing food in a positive environment that helps your child develop a healthy relationship to food. Your child decides which of those foods to eat, how much to eat and whether to eat at all.
- HealthLink BC: Healthy Eating: Helping Your Child Learn Healthy Eating Habits
- Jessie's Legacy: Body Image in Young Children
- UnlockFood: Tips for Raising Kids with Healthy Habits