Parents’ Influence on Children’s Eating Habits

As a parent, you play an important role in shaping your children’s eating habits. You have a big influence over the family environment where meals take place and the types of foods your children eat. Positive experiences about food early on may help your children develop healthy eating habits later in life. Read on to learn how to positively influence your children’s eating habits by creating a positive eating environment and being a good role model.

Creating a positive eating environment

Family meals take place in the home (or the “eating environment”). This eating environment can have a positive or negative impact on your children’s eating habits. Here are a few tips to help you create a positive eating environment for your children.

Have regular meal and snack times

Having regular meal and snack times everyday creates a healthy routine. If your children eat whenever they feel like it, they may not be hungry when it’s time for a scheduled meal or snack. They may also overeat during the day.

Eat together as a family

Children who eat meals with their family tend to eat healthier foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They are also at lower risk for becoming overweight. However, children who eat in front of the TV tend to make poorer food choices. Eating meals in front of the TV should be avoided as this can lead to overeating and a higher risk of childhood obesity. Learn more about why it is important to eat together without TV.

Avoid pressuring your children to eat

Insisting that your children eat certain foods may actually cause them to eat less. As a parent, you are responsible for providing healthy food choices to your children. Your children should be allowed to decide how much to eat based on how hungry they feel. Are mealtimes a struggle? Say goodbye to picky eating with these tips.

Avoid using food as a reward or punishment

Eating is a way to nourish our bodies. Using food as a reward or punishment may lead to unhealthy eating habits.  Offer a variety of healthy foods and let your children serve themselves without any pressure.

Have healthy foods at home

Make sure to buy healthy foods when you shop. The foods available in your fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry are what your children will get used to eating. Use this  menu planning form to help you plan healthy meals as a family!

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