If your child seems to always choose unhealthy fare over more nutritious options, you may be wondering what influence you have had on your child's choices. You are one of the biggest influences on your child, and she will likely adopt your eating habits and those she sees practiced by the rest of the family whether they are good or bad. Meals Matter reports that your child looks to you to make decisions about a wide range of things, including how she eats. Learning more about how your own habits influence your child may help you make changes that improve your health, as well as the health of your child.
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If it's normal in your household to guzzle soda and fill up on potato chips for a snack, your child is not likely to reach for celery sticks when he feels like snacking. One of the most important ways your child learns is by watching you. If your child sees you eating unhealthy foods, he is more likely to believe these eating habits are normal and acceptable. Help Guide, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about healthy choices, notes that children naturally imitate adults and will be more likely to pick up poor eating habits if they see their parents and other adult family members eating this way on a regular basis.
If you practice healthy eating habits, your child is more likely to reach for nutritious foods instead of junk. When your child watches you consistently making healthy food choices, he is more likely to adopt those habits himself. Allow your child to watch you reach for a piece of fruit or raw vegetables for a snack, which will teach him the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, but will also encourage him to make similar choices. Include vegetables or fruits with every meal and opt for whole grains rather than white versions as additional ways to influence your child to choose nutritious foods.
Taking time to influence your child to make healthy eating choices will make it more likely that he will continue eating a variety of nutritious foods as he gets older. Meals Matter notes that teen girls are more likely to drink milk if they watch their mothers drink milk on a regular basis. Children who eat meals with their parents and family are more likely to reach for healthy foods and are less likely to be overweight, as well as less likely to munch on unhealthy snacks.
One of the most important ways to influence your child's eating habits is by incorporating family meals into your day. Children who do not eat with their family have less chance of learning about healthy foods than children who regularly sit down at the table with their parents and siblings. Take your child food shopping and allow him to watch you making healthy food choices, while ignoring the junk food. Encourage your child to take part in planning healthy meals, as well as preparing them, and he is more likely to eat those foods.