By teaching healthy eating habits to your children, and modeling these behaviors in yourself, you can help your kids maintain normal growth and a healthy weight. Also, the eating habits they pick up when they’re young will help them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle when they are adults.
The doctor or healthcare provider of your child evaluate the growth and weight and let you know if the child needs to gain or lose weight by making any dietary changes. It is important that you don’t place your obese child (ren) on a restrictive diet. They should never be placed on strict diet restriction to lose weight unless a doctor supervises for medical reasons.
Other approaches you can take to develop healthy eating habits in your children include-
Guide the choice of your family rather than dictate foods- Make a wide variety of healthy foods available in the house. It will definitely help your children learn how to make healthful food choices. Leave the unhealthy junk choices such as chips, soda, burger, fries, etc. at the store. Serve meals with water.
Encourage slow eating habit in children- A child can detect fullness and hunger better when they eat food slowly. Before offering a second serving, ask them to wait at least 10-15 minutes to see if they’re still hungry. This practice will give time to the brain to register fullness. Also, that 2nd serving needs to be much smaller than the first.
Eat meals together (as a family) - Try to make the time of meals pleasant with the sharing and conversation, not a time for arguing and scolding. If the mealtimes are unpleasant, order your children to eat faster and leave the dining area as soon as possible, as it affects their mental health.
Involving your children in preparing meals and food shopping is Good- These activities will help you to get hints about the food preferences of your child. It will give an opportunity to teach your children about health & nutrition and provide your children with a feeling of accomplishment. Additionally, kids may be more willing to eat foods which they help prepare.
Plan time for snacks- Continuous snack eating leads to overeating, but snacks which are planned at specific daytime can be part of a nutritious and healthy diet, without spoiling the appetite of a child at meal times.
Discourage eating while watching TV or Laptop- Try to eat in designated areas, such as a kitchen or the dining room. Eating in front of your Laptop, PC or TV can make it difficult to pay attention to the feeling of fullness and can lead to overeating.
Encourage Children to Drink Plenty of Water- Over consumption of sodas, juices or sweetened drinks have been related to increased rates of fatness in children.
Make sure your children's meals are balanced outside the home- Pack their school lunch including a variety of healthy foods. Try to change the lunch menu daily as it helps a lot to encourage your child to eat and finish the food completely without wasting. Also, select healthier food items when dining outside (in parties and restaurants).
Pay attention to ingredients and portion size- Portion size is the actual food that is placed on the plate. Pay attention to the portion size and ingredients on your child’s plate. Food should not be wasted and develop this habit in your child (ren) by teaching them to eat food in small portions.