Helping your child develop healthy eating habits to prevent problems such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity later in life. These guidelines follow the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education.
- Try to introduce new foods to your child while still in preschool, when he or she will be more open to new things.
- Offer your child a variety of nutritious choices with every meal.
- Give your child some freedom in choosing what and how much to eat from what you offer.
- Be creative. If you child doesn't like vegetables, finely grate raw carrots, mix with peanut butter, and spread on crackers, bread or apple slices.
- Make edible art. Use rice as clouds, shredded lettuce for grass, raisins for rocks.
- Make sure your child's breakfast includes carbohydrates and simple sugars such as breads, fruits and vegetables, proteins such as lean meat or an egg, a calcium-rich dairy product such as cheese, yogurt or milk, and some fat. When taken together, these foods stay in the stomach long enough to provide the energy your child needs to start the day.
- Allow your child the occasional “junk food” such as sugary desserts or soda, but remind him or her that these are no substitute for healthful foods.
- Make eating a fun learning experience. Explore a variety of foods, including those of other cultures, and determine how these can fit into a healthy diet.
- Make sure that your child's school cafeteria offers balanced meals.
- Act as an example by developing a positive attitude about healthy foods.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other healthcare professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.