Five Tips for Healthier Eating
Stepping Stone School is your partner in raising healthy, happy and confident children. To that end, we serve balanced and nutritional meals and snacks and offer the following suggestions for encouraging healthy eating in children.
1. Keep healthy food on hand. Keep snacks like fruits, veggies and low-fat cheese in a special place that children can access easily. It’s OK to have an occasional treat, but if you buy smaller packages of “junk food,” it’s easier to keep these snacks to a minimum.
2. Acknowledge healthy choices. When your children choose healthy foods, praise them. Your approval is a great motivator for them.
3. Never use food as a punishment or reward. Giving favorite foods for good behavior or withholding them when children misbehave gives the impression that food equals power. It can also create weight problems in later life. Something physical and fun, like a trip to the park, can be a strong and healthy motivation for good behavior.
4. Enjoy family dinners together. Research shows that children who eat dinners at the table with their parents eat better foods. They also may be less likely to get into trouble as teenagers. Allow young children to serve themselves, but help them learn portion control.
5. Children are more responsive when they have some control. Give your children an active role in what foods they eat. For example, ask them to try the foods on their plates and give each grades, perhaps A, B, C, D or F. That way you can serve foods with high grades more often, allowing your children to participate in decision making.
Helping children form healthy eating habits is a process that just takes mindfulness and time.