Helping children eat well

Making sure your children learn about healthy eating is important for their growth and development, as well as establishing good habits as they get older.

Eating a wide variety of healthy food gives your child’s body energy and vitamins and promotes growth.

As a parent, there are many ways you can ensure your child gets a healthy and balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes (things like peas or beans) and cereals. It is also important that children enjoy proteins, such as lean meat or alternatives, and dairy products, such as milk, yoghurts and cheese.

Butter, margarine and foods high in fats and sugars should be eaten in small amounts.

Encouraging healthy habits
  • Eat healthy food with your child and show them that you enjoy eating healthy food too.
  • Praise your child when they choose healthy foods to eat.
  • Try not to use food as a reward, comfort, bribe or punishment.
  • Children are all different -some children have small appetites or need to eat small meals regularly, while others may eat larger portions less often.
  • Get children involved at mealtimes. Young children are more likely to eat something they have made themselves.
  • Ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy food.
  • At home, get your child to help you rinse vegetables, prepare foods or set the table.
  • Encourage children to eat regularly and have a regular routine for mealtimes.
  • Continue to offer new food for them to try, along with familiar foods that they enjoy.
Preparing healthy snacks

Children enjoy helping to prepare their own meals, and are more likely to eat healthy foods if they help to prepare them. As you prepare the snack, make sure you talk to your child about the vitamins and energy they gain from eating healthy snacks.

Check out some fun, healthy snack ideas here.

Find out more information on eating well, and some great recipes, from Nutrition Australia here.

Image Children hold plates of healthy food, using healthy ingredients to make an owl sitting in nest

Published — 03 September 2016 Last updated — 12 February 2018