How to eat

How we eat is just as important as what we eat. Here are some important things to consider:

Help your child learn to listen to their body

  • Help your child recognise the feelings of hunger, fullness, thirst, constipation, etc
  • Show your child how to respond to those feelings
  • Allow your child to stop eating the food on their plate if they think they have had enough already
  • Trust your child to continue eating when hungry and to stop when full
  • Remember sometimes children say they are hungry when they are actually feeling sad, lonely or bored. Try to avoid using food to make them feel better – there might be other ways you can do this

Encourage health eating patterns

  • Try to have regular meals
  • Base snacks mostly on everyday foods
  • Instead of “good” and “bad” foods, talk to your child about “everyday” and “sometimes” foods
  • Ensure most of the foods available at home are everyday foods
  • Involve your child in shopping for and preparing food. This can help them develop curiosity and confidence in new foods

Avoid mixed messages

  • Try to use rewards and incentives that are not related to food
  • Model the eating of sometimes foods without talking about feeling bad or guilty.
  • Keep track of screen time and ensure your child is getting enough physical activity, and limit exposure to adverts etc promoting “sometimes foods” or ideal body shapes