1 As parents, you decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Though kids may pester you for what they like which may not be nutritious, you are in charge when deciding which foods are to be regularly stocked in the house. Kids will eat whatever is available at home. If their favourite snack isn't all that nutritious, you can still buy it once in a while so they won't feel deprived.
2 Let your kids have a say in the food selection you make available to them. Let them choose what to eat and how much of it they want. If you follow step 1, your kids will be choosing only from the foods you decide to buy and serve, hence only nutritious choices.
3 Quit the 'clean-plate club'. Allow kids to stop eating when they feel they've had enough. Give your kids the food portions that are suitable for their age. Lots of parents today grew up under the clean-plate rule but that approach doesn't teach kids to listen to their body so that they will stop eating when they feel full. When they learn how to respond to feelings of fullness, they're less likely to overeat.
4 Start them young. Food preferences are developed early in life so offer a variety of food from a young age. Likes and dislikes begin forming even when kids are babies. When serving a new food, don't force your kid to eat it but offer a few bites at a time.
5 When eating out, let your kids try new food. They might surprise you with their willingness to experiment. Start by letting them try a little of whatever you ordered or order it in an appetizer portion for them to try.
6 Drink calories count. Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. Water and milk are the best drinks for kids. Juice is fine when it's 100%, but kids don't need much of it - 4 to 6 ounces a day is enough for preschoolers.
7 Put sweets in their proper place. Occasional sweets are fine but don't turn dessert into the main reason for eating a meal. When dessert is the prize for eating, kids naturally place more value on the cupcake than the broccoli.
8 Food is not about reward or love. When eating is used to reward kids and show affection, they may start using food to cope with stress or other emotions, hence leading to food-related disorders. Offer hugs, praise, and attention instead of food treats.
9 Kids do as you do. Be a role model and eat healthy yourself. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible. Choose nutritious snacks, eat at the table, and don't skip meals. Most of all, let them see that you really enjoy eating the food.
10 Limit TV and computer time. By doing this, you'll avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity. Research has shown that kids who cut down on TV-watching also reduce their percentage of body fat. When TV and computer time is limited, kids will turn to other activities to expend their energy. So when the whole family limits 'screen time', you'll have more time to be active together.