Best Tactics for Teaching Your Child to Eat Well

Article by Jeff Barnett

Parents can start their children on the right dietary path by implementing some of these simple tactics.

What steps can parents take to promote healthy eating from kids?

This difficult question is the subject of a recent study from Australia, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The study examined 133 children from 86 families. It measured the current eating habits of the children, and then again after an intervention of dietary education for the parents.

 What methods improved a child’s diet?
  • First, parents who saw they had a direct responsibility for their child’s diet made the most positive change. Without taking responsibility for the food served to their children, little positive change was possible.
  • Next, role modeling was particularly important. Children sought to model their parents, even in eating habits.
  • Making healthy food more available, while at the same time limiting access to unhealthy foods was also important. Parents were more successful at getting their child to eat healthier by focusing on providing healthy foods rather than trying to control how much their child ate.
  • Finally, greater nutritional knowledge in parents resulted in better eating in children. Parents set the tone for eating habits. As they learned more about healthy eating and made changes, children were more likely to make dietary changes as well.
This study gives parents practical tools to promote healthy eating. Most of the tools are intuitive: take responsibility, educate yourself, and limit access to junk foods.

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