Young Parents Team
1. Understand nutritious eating Before you can give your child advice about what to eat or not to eat, you need to know the types of food that make up a healthy diet, such as fresh fruit, dairy products, fish and meat. You can get information about this from a health centre, library or the Internet.
2. Explain “good” foods Your child is more likely to make healthy food choices outside her home if he knows what they are. So, explain the different types of food he needs to consume in order to grow fit and healthy. This helps him to eat right, even when you are not there to help him.
3. Outline the impact A healthy diet matters because what your child eats affects his rate of physical development, bone growth, complexion and even hair appearance. He will be more committed to eating nourishing food when he realises the impact it has on him. He wants to be fit and look good.
Related: Dump the junk food
4. Give wholesome snacks Whenever he goes out, give him a healthy snack that includes the types of food you would like him to eat. Make sure the snack is visually attractive, easy to eat and tastes good – it has to compete with the temptation of junk food from other sources.
5. Tell him what to avoid Choosing healthy food is easier when he also knows specifically what he should not eat. Advise him to steer clear of sweets, fizzy drinks and junk products. Let him know that these contain too much sugar, chemicals and other harmful substances.
Related: Ways to eat out healthily
6. Teach him to resist temptation When faced with the opportunity to swap his healthy snacks with his friend’s crisps or sweets, you child may get tempted – junk food looks very appetising, after all. Advise your child to remind himself at these moments about the long-term importance of healthy eating.
7. Help him to say “no” Peer pressure is difficult to resist, especially in the playground at lunchtime when all the children are opening their packed lunches together. Encourage your child to say “no” politely but assertively if his pals offer his junk food. Rehearse the scenario at home with him.
Related: Wean your kid off fast food
8. Allow treats Your child will be more likely to eat right if he doesn’t have to secretly consume junk food away from home – the forbidden fruit is always sweeter. Serve him “non-healthy” options at home occasionally as a special treat, so he won’t feel an urge to sneak a bite of them outside.
9. Keep a balanced view Although you may be disappointed to discover that your child ate something you are not keen on when he was out, remember what matters is his overall food intake – not one specific eating episode. Snacking on infrequent junk food won’t do him any harm, as long as his food choices are generally wholesome.
Related: Battle of the snacks
10. Don’t overreact If your child does not make a healthy food choice, try to react calmly. Point out all the positive reasons for healthy eating and encourage him to make a better choice in the future. If you react angrily, he’ll simply conceal his non-healthy eating episodes from you altogether.
Related: Why sweet drinks are so unhealthy