DON’T restrict foods or make them off-limits. This may encourage unhealthy attitudes and behaviors towards food later in life.
DO link foods to their health benefits. Explain to your child how certain foods can give them more energy, boost their learning, or help them excel in sports.
DON’T criminalize certain foods: foods should not be labeled as “good” and “bad.” Most foods are healthy in moderation.
DO encourage your child to eat slowly. Have fun by talking about how the food looks, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds.
DON’T use food as a punishment or reward. This will eventually send the wrong message about foods.
DO use verbal reinforcement or small rewards – like stickers or getting to choose tomorrow’s dinner – with healthy decisions.
DON’T ban dessert; sweet treats have a place in any healthy diet. Forbidding them will only make them more appealing.
DO encourage your children to broaden their definition of dessert: fruit, yogurt, and even cheese can be a yummy end to a meal.
DO teach your child about healthy substitutions. For example, if she’s a fan of French fries, show her that roasted sweet potatoes can taste just as good.
DO allow your child to order off the adult menu if she wants to. This could be a great opportunity to teach her about serving sizes and how many restaurants serve oversized portions.
DO be a role model. If your child sees you ordering a healthier meal, she may follow suit.