Healthy habits start with a spoonful of trust and a slice of patience. Let your child decide how much to eat.
When your children start to eat table foods they learn how to eat, how to tell when they are hungry or full, and what is good to eat.
You can help your children learn to eat the right amounts of nutritious foods that will help them grow into healthy adults.
- What foods to offer
- When to offer meals and snacks
- Where your child will eat
Trust your child to decide:
- Which foods to eat
- How much to eat
Make eating a social and enjoyable time. Often children will refuse to eat a meal or snack if they aren’t hungry. Never force your child to eat.
The first six months
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby. It should be the only food for baby for the first six months. Breastfeed on demand – not on a schedule. Let your baby show you when she is hungry and when she is full.
Healthy babies come in all weights, shapes and sizes. Try not to compare your baby to other babies. Your baby is growing well if he has a steady weight gain.
At six months, it is time to introduce new foods. Meals and snacks should served be on a set schedule but continue to offer breast milk on demand.
Tips for building healthy eating habits
Provide a healthy meal or snack every two to three hours. No nibbling between snacks and meals.
Seat your child at the table for meals and snacks without TV or toys.
Offer small portions of food.
Allow your child to say “no thank you” or “more please.”
Let children feed themselves.
Let your children leave the table when they are full. 20 to 30 minutes is enough time to eat.
Keep mealtime free of pressure.
Eat together as a family whenever possible.
You are your child’s most important role model, so practice healthy eating habits yourself.
To help encourage healthy eating habits for a lifetime, make eating a social and enjoyable time.
If you are worried about your child’s eating habits or weight gain (too much or too little), talk to your health care provider, a registered dietitian or a public health nurse.
You can encourage healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.