- Children will do as you do. By sitting with them you can model healthy habits, appropriate manners, and language skills.
- Be curious about your children’s thoughts. Meal times are perfect to reflect on the experiences of the day.
- Talk to your children about good foods. Explain how the calcium in broccoli and milk build strong bones, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe sharpen vision!
4. Allow your child to eat whatever is offered in any order they wish. At mealtime provide a choice from each of the food groups. If you don’t want cookies to be eaten first, don’t pack them in their lunch!
- Provide only healthy choices such as vegetables and dip, sliced fruit, whole grain sandwich with a protein middle (such as soy or nut butter, cream cheese, or cold cuts), milk, water, or 100% fruit juice. Make special sweets an organic oatmeal or carrot cookie with raisins. You can use organic sweeteners that provide other nutrients as well. Honey provides some vitamins and minerals that refined sugar does not.
- When you give your child the power to choose what order to eat their food, you will help them develop the power to use their good judgement to feed themselves with healthy food all their lives.
5. When you get up from the table, you’re done!
- If children fool around, it's an indication they are finished. Children can clean up, then wait for the next meal. Children will learn to eat at the appropriate times, and take advantage of what they are served. Remind them when the next meal is, and help them to learn concepts of time!
- When you’re finished, get outside to run and play. Work up an appetite and get fit. Healthy food and exercise, gives strength for learning tasks!