How to Develop Healthy Food Habits in Your Child?

3 to 7 years

Created by Payal
Updated on Sep 01, 2012

How to Develop Healthy Food Habits in Your Child

A survey conducted by BBC proved that the diet of present-day children is poorer than children of a few decades ago. That is ironic as the overall economic situation of parents has changed for the better in this time. Healthy food habits in the children need to be inculcated right from the start by being a great role model for them. We need to make them aware of the importance of regular exercise and the benefits that one can get from it. The easy availability and accessibility of junk food around us have led to our children falling prey to modern lifestyle diseases like of obesity, blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

To make our kids grow active & healthy, it is essential to encourage child for healthy eating habits or meal plan for a growth diet. There are many fun ways to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet, and a few are mentioned below to help you achieve a balanced diet for your children.

Ways to Develop Nutritious Food Habits in Your Child

There are few how-to tips to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet, and a few are mentioned here to help you achieve a balanced diet for your children. Check ways in which a child can be made to develop nutritious food habits.

Family mealtimes at set hours:

Keeping a disciplined time for meals is very important for the body clock. A family meal at dinner will help parents to catch up with children's day at school monitor what they are eating. When kids see their parents enjoying their food, they will also be motivated to eat healthily. [Must try - Generate Daily Meal Plan for your child]

Healthy snacking options in between meals: 

The younger children need three healthy meals and two snacks in between in a day while the older ones can do with only one snack along with three regular meals ( they may need two snacks in the day if they are into sports or if they are going through a growth spurt. Good snacks are nuts and dried fruits, fruits cut into chunks and drizzled with honey or chaat masala, crackers with cheese, eggs or cut vegetables like carrot or cucumbers with a dip sauce or mayonnaise. Low-fat yoghurts are also a good option.

Eat a rainbow:

Eating colourful fruits and vegetables give vitamins and nutrients which make for a healthy balanced meal. So try to have at least 3 colours on your food plate at a meal- an easy way to do that is have beans and carrots, broccoli, pumpkins, cucumber and peppers/ capsicum. While buying capsicum, buy more red and yellow ones than green.

Do not ban fast food:

Children understand explanations better than what we give them credit for. Explain why some things are bad for them and allow them to choose once in a while. Anything in moderation is not bad so once in a while take them out for a junk food meal.

Recommended:  6 Food to Improve Child's Immunity during Monsoon

Never Skip breakfast:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Ensure that children have a high fibre diet, with fruits and vegetables. In breakfast try to include one portion of dairy- milk, cheese, lassi or curd, one portion fruit- a banana or sliced apples, or any other fruit, and one portion cereals or bread. Bread can be served with fruit preserves which have low sugar content. Check labels of packaged foods for details. Cornflakes can be served with fresh fruits like strawberries or bananas.

Oats are also a very good breakfast option, in sweet or savoury form.

Have fruits for dessert:

Sweets once in a while are fine for kids, but encourage them to have fruit instead. Try a dessert which incorporates fruit, like custard, or jelly. Make fruit salads and have them to set an example. If your child refuses, one thing which works wonders is a scoop of ice cream with fruits. In time you can reduce the ice cream and increase the fruit. It is a trick which has worked for me. Read This: 5 Food Habits Child’s Focus & Retention in Exams

Be a role model:

Research has proven that a growing child looks up to the parent to learn about diet, body image and nutrition and will adopt most of the practices that the parents endorse. So in order to set the best examples for our children we ourselves need to eat healthily, be a part of some physical activity or exercise and also not support dieting or is eating.

Never fight over food:

The mothers who lead by example and persuade, rather than order, their kids to eat their vegetables have kids with healthier diets.. We need to offer smaller portions of healthy foods and allow the child to decide how much they will eat. It is best to coax and encourage picky eaters than to give them ultimatums.

Have them help you at meal times:

Make your children part of the food adventure, you could take them to the grocery store or the local vegetable vendor and help them select foods to taste or allow them to cook at home with safety precautions. Ask them to help you set the table at dinner or carry food to the table. Have them help you prepare food with safe jobs like mixing the salad or using the rolling pin to make their own roti! They will enjoy the “game” and will show off by eating what they make. Once they feel they are part of the making process they will be more appreciative of the food that is put on the table and will enjoy it thoroughly.

A healthy balanced diet along with an active lifestyle will go a long way in inculcating healthy food habits while ensuring a healthier future.


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| Sep 20, 2019

Really helpful

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| Oct 04, 2017

Thx for this valueable information.

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| Apr 05, 2017

thnx for the info

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| Apr 05, 2017

thanks for this valuable info.. can you please also share what all different fruits or vegetables to be given with there nutritional value

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| Apr 05, 2017

thank u.. lots of helpful informations..

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| Apr 05, 2017

really helpful information

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| Apr 05, 2017

nice information

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| Apr 05, 2017

very nice information

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| Jul 07, 2016

thank you

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| Oct 17, 2013

Dear Payal, Thanks for this advice. My problem is that my 5 yr old daughter is extremely fussy and does not eat fruits at all. How do i weave in this supplement in her diet. Please suggest.

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| May 24, 2013

Very informative

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| Nov 26, 2012

Simple and nice, very useful tips, thanks!

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| Nov 25, 2012

Great tips.. We should all be aware of the healthy eating habits and make the right food choices for benefit of our heath and that of our children. Thanks Payal.

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| Oct 15, 2012

Wow this is such an interesting article and lots to learn from. Kids must be thought to eat healthy at an early age itself. I had read another article on the same lines. May be it will add on whatever you have written.

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