It’s never a good idea to give your young child the impression that they should be restricting their food intake. So watch how you speak about food. This can lead to negative associations with food and foster the development of an eating disorder later on in their teenage years.Instead, you want to help your child make better choices when they are hungry. Don’t ban foods – that makes them more interesting, but ‘talk and teach’ your child to listen to their body’s own hunger signals. This is the best way to get them in the habit of correlating their hunger with their food intake at a young age. Then down the road they will be less likely to eat for boredom or comfort or other reasons other than hunger, getting them to stop eating once they are full.
Aim to teach your children the importance of regularly including fruits and vegetables in their day – create a colourful fruit bowl that is readily available in the kitchen so they can see it and choose something healthy. Try and steer them away from large quantities of very carb-heavy sources such as pasta, large quantities of bread, and all the various snack foods that kids love. Make them a treat not the norm.
Research shows children who achieve a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn, and more self-confident.
They’re also less likely to have low self-esteem or be bullied. And they’re much less likely to have health problems in later life.
As a parent, there’s lots you can do to help your child become a healthier weight. Getting them to be more active and eat well is important.
Here’s some practical advice to help you from the NHS website on ‘Hidden causes of weight gain.’