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Make 2015 the year of eating well

Posted on 30 January 2015

How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Did ‘Dry January’ end for you on Saturday the 3rd? How about some resolutions that really pay off? Here are the Children’s Food Trust’s top tips on helping your child to eat better in 2015. Try them all, or have a go at one or two – it all makes a difference.

Eat together – and turn off the TV

Children learn from your example, so sit down to eat with them and use mealtimes to talk rather than watch. The more you can involve them in mealtimes, the better - even little tinies can help to set and clear away after meals. Encourage them to serve themselves (safely!) – choosing their own salad from the bowl, or helping themselves to bread.

Get cooking

Research shows that cooking from scratch helps us to eat more healthily. When children learn to cook, our studies show they’re more likely to recognise and eat fruit and veg. Let them have a turn to choose what’s on the menu. You’ll find lots of ideas on cooking with kids on Let’s Get Cooking’s website.

Mix it up

Variety is the key to a healthy diet. You’ll find lots of recipes of foods to try in your child’s diet on the Kids Health website.

Drink right

Children need to drink regularly to replace the fluids they lose in play, and to make sure they don’t get dehydrated. So make sure they’re getting enough - check out our blogs about hydration in children here and here.   

No fuss

Refusing to eat, turning down new foods or being very picky about what goes on the plate is all part of growing up. Don’t make it a big deal: regularly give children chances to try little tastes of new foods. This might take ages – some say children need to taste things up to 15 times before they decide they like them. Let them keep control of the situation – tell them they can spit the taste into a tissue if they don’t like it. Don’t expect children to clear their plates, and don’t withhold dessert if they don’t finish their main. Forcing children to eat foods tends to make them dislike them. If they’re still hungry after their main, it’s ok to have second helpings. Give them loads of praise for trying something new, and don’t use favourite foods as a reward – it only makes that food even more special.  

Play games

The more you use food in play, the more interested children are in what they eat. Count the spoons and pieces of fruit when you’re setting the table. Tell stories about what you’re cooking and eating, talk about where ingredients come from or about places where your dish is eaten. Sort and match foods into different types in your shopping trolley. Grow fruit and veg – check out the Royal Horticultural Society’s tips here.

Article by Children's Food Trust http://www.childrensfoodtrust.org.uk/

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