Healthy Children - April 2012


Building Good Food Habits

It seems everyone is talking about food and over eating or eating the wrong kinds of foods. We forget that many people are doing a great job feeding their families. Then next time you hear all the negative information, take a look at all the positive things you are doing or have learned to do for your family. Great parents make mistakes, learn from them and do better the next time. Here are a few suggestions you may already be doing and can give yourself a “Pat on the Back” for your positive efforts.

  • If you are using a bottle to feed your baby, always hold your baby.
  • Offer nutritious foods at home. Set a good example by preparing (and eating) a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains every day
  • Offer new foods prepared the same way several times. Children do not always like new foods the first times they are offered, it may take several times before they are even interested in taking a bite, and several more before they like it.
  • Ask grandparents and other family members to follow your example when offering new foods, helping your child fill their plate or order at a restaurant. (Remember you are the parent, and in charge!)
  • Include children in age appropriate shopping and cooking activities. Children are more likely to try new foods if they have participated in the preparation.
  • Check with your child’s day care or teacher to see how their special day might be celebrated. Consider suggesting fresh fruit, a book about nutrition, good manners or playing together; maybe a music or other CD for activity time. Think of other things that might make their day special and also be special for the class.


Cheryl A. Metheny, MS, RD, CDE, LDN
Illinois Department of Human Services
1107 W Deyoung
Marion, IL 62959
Fax: 618-998-9145
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