Yet, teaching your child how to eat well is not something parents think they will ever need to know.
To help parents find a path to make mealtime easier for their children, registered dietician Kim Milano has developed a series of six easy steps. Use these steps to help your children enjoy foods that are good for them and develop healthy, life-long eating habits.
Just like learning to walk or tying shoes, children need help to learn to eat well. By following these 6 steps you can help your child eat properly.
As you begin implementing these steps, remember that every child is different and that you know your child best. It may take 10 to 15 times of offering or introducing a new food to your child before he or she might try it. Stay patient and positive and know that some steps may take longer, but that this process will help your child become a healthy eater.
Step 1: Manage Mealtime Establish set meal and snack times to help your child understand hunger and fullness:
Step 2: Learn to understand your child’s hunger signals As you set meal times, pay attention to your child’s signs of being full or hungry. Ask yourself:
Step 3: Choose healthy foodsMake the right foods available
MEALTIME CHECK-IN: check the following options based on your family
If not, reassess and repeat Steps 1 through 3.
Step 4: Create the “Family Table”Start as soon as your child begins eating solid foods
Step 5: Learn what kind of feeding style you haveAsk yourself:
If you answered “yes” to the first two questions, then it is important to understand what feeding practices you use in response to your concerns about eating. Put a check in the box of each feeding practice you use with your child.
Count the number of check marks of each color you have made. The largest number of feeding practices you marked with the same color gives you an idea which feeding style you tend to use:
The goal is to try to use responsive feeding practices by practicing the following actions as much as possible:
Step 6: Consistently offer new foods
Parents should also work with all caregivers (nannies/grandparents) who are involved in mealtimes. Be sure to observe their interactions and attitude during meals, and work collaboratively to ensure that everyone is following the same steps and guidelines.