Developing Healthy Eating Habits in Children

Week 3 of the  MeMeTales Readathon is all about Positive Behavior and Character Development. Developing healthy eating habits in children is important. What children eat today can have a lasting impact on the choices they make in the future. There are several ways to promote eating habits that are essential for being healthy.

developing healthy eating habits in children

Read Books that Model Good Habits

In Ditto the Butterfly, Ditto learns the importance of eating different foods.

Ditto the Butterfly
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Ditto the Butterfly

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Ditto the Butterfly is perfectly content eating buttercups. Her mother is concerned by this, but Ditto just ignores her. Ditto meets a beautiful bird who is eating from a rose. Ditto learns the bird’s colors come from eating different types of flowers. Ditto wants to be colorful, too, so she decides to eat from many flowers.

Aiden enjoys reading this book. He likes the colors, the flowers, and the butterflies. As we read the story, we talked about what Ditto was doing. Ditto’s choice to eat only buttercups sounds like someone else I know. Aiden is going through a picky eater stage. Although he’s pretty random about when and what he’ll eat. Some meals he’ll eat all the food on his plate; other meals he’ll eat only the bread. While reading, we talked about how important it was for Ditto to eat from more than one flower. She would grow up to be a beautiful butterfly if she ate from all the flowers.

Need more book suggestions? Playdough to Plato shares 15 children’s books for picky eaters.

Activities to Promote Healthy Eating

Introduce your kids to the 5 food groups and show them the importance of eating a variety of foods from each group. The USDA’s MyPlate is a great visual.

Try this Choosing a Healthy Plate activity from the Kids Activities Blog to help your kids see what they are eating and if it’s balanced.

Pay attention to the words you use while encouraging your children to eat. Some of the things we say are quite negative and don’t help our kids make healthy choices. Check out this list from the USDA for suggestions on changing our negative phrases into positive ones.


More Suggestions for Developing Healthy Eating Habits

The USDA has an entire website for promoting healthy eating – They have a great section of health and nutrition information for preschoolers (which they define as age 2-5).

They have nine tips specifically for developing healthy eating habits in children.

  • Set a good example
  • Offer a variety of foods
  • Start with small portions
  • Help them know when they’ve had enough
  • Follow a meal and snack schedule
  • Make mealtime a family time
  • Cope with a picky eater
  • Help them try new foods
  • Make food fun

They explain each of these tips on their website.

Do you have a picky eater? B.Inspired Mama has compiled 25 tips for dealing with picky eaters.

What are some ways that you encourage healthy eating habits?

Linking up here.

Disclosure:  In exchange for writing activities based on the weekly themes, I will receive the featured books.

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