Fostering a Healthy Relationship with Food for Your Child

Raising happy, healthy and thriving children is a primary goal for parents. Helping your child develop a healthy relationship with food at an early age will provide the foundation for healthy nutrition later in life. Food is not only a vital element for our survival, it is also at the very heart of our lives and plays an important role in our social gatherings, whether at home, at a favorite restaurant, or the lunchroom.

At Stepping Stone School we believe in cultivating healthy eating habits with every meal. Our meals are healthy and wholesome, and made from scratch. Our produce is locally sourced and prepared in each school’s open, gourmet kitchen. We serve balanced, nutritional meals which include fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lean meats. Our goal is to nurture a healthy relationship between children and food while teaching manners and cultivating a joy for mealtime.

Here are some ways that you can help foster this relationship at home:

1.) Be a Role Model. Parents are the greatest role models for their young children. This starts with positive language around food and food choices. Demonstrate an all-inclusive approach to food by not labeling certain foods as ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’. Labeling foods as ‘healthy’ vs. ‘Unhealthy’ can teach children they are doing something wrong if they eat the ‘bad’ foods.

2.) Prepare Food and Cook Together. Children tend to be innately curious about various foods when they are involved in meal planning, shopping and preparing the food. Meal prepping together is a great way to show children the essential skills and rules of the kitchen while introducing them to a new variety of flavors, colors and aromas. They are also more likely to try new foods when they are involved in the cooking process.

3.) Build Food Routines and Healthy Habits. Mealtime habits often stay with children well into adulthood. Build healthy routines, such as including vegetables with every breakfast or lunch, or perhaps a glass of water should be mandatory before a meal. Healthy habits can become a family tradition.

4.) Plates Don’t Always Have to be Clean. It is important for children to get enough to eat with each meal, however, it is equally important to allow children to listen to their own body’s internal hunger cues and respect them. If they are full before the plate is clean, that is okay. One positive way to guide children to eat better at mealtime is to allow them to serve themselves and taste a bit of everything. This allows them to make decisions for themselves and helps them develop independence.

5.) Eat Meals as a Family. Sitting down together as a family is a great way to build healthy eating habits and helps children make healthier choices. This is also a great way for families to bond and have conversations about their day. Family style dining also promotes social development in children.

Your child’s diet will not be perfectly balanced and nutritious all the time. By fostering positive relationships for your child with food, you are helping them develop a joy and healthy love for eating.


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