At Beyond Speech Therapy Specialists, we understand the importance of promoting healthy eating habits for our children and families.
We know that modeling positive food behavior is so important for creating a healthy eating environment in our homes. In this post, we’ll look a bit more at the importance of modeling good habits for our kids and we also provide practical tips for creating those habits!
The Importance of Modeling Good Food Behavior
Our kids learn so much by example, and modeling healthy food behaviors is essential for teaching them lifelong healthy eating habits. When parents model positive food behaviors, like eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains over processed foods and eating in moderation, they are setting positive examples for their children to follow.
On the other hand, when parents model unhealthy food behaviors – overeating, making poor food choices or intentionally skipping meals, they can inadvertently pass on negative eating habits to their children.
Practical Tips for Modeling Good Food Behavior
1. Eating As A Family
Eating as a family is a great way to model positive food behavior for your kids.
When you eat together, it’s easier to model healthy eating habits, such as trying new foods, eating slowly, and enjoying your meal. Eating as a family can also provide an opportunity for positive conversations and connection which can improve your child’s future relationship with food and meal times.
2. Offer a Variety of Foods
Offering a variety of foods is important for teaching your child how to eat a balanced and healthy diet and help to counteract picky eating behavior.
When you introduce new foods to your child, model positive food behavior by trying the food yourself and showing enthusiasm for it. Encourage your child to try new foods and always celebrate when they do.
3. Avoid Using Food as a Reward
It’s an easy go-to and motivator but using food as a reward can set the stage for unhealthy relationships with certain types of food and eating behaviors overall.
Instead, model positive food behavior by finding non-food rewards – extra time at the park, having a family movie night or going on a special outing of their choosing! This will help children understand that there are lots of other ways to be rewarded and motivated, other than food.
4. Teach & Model Moderation
Teaching moderation is an essential part of modeling positive food and eating behavior. Show your child how they can enjoy their favorite foods in moderation and help them understand why moderation is a healthy thing for their bodies.
Avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad” but encourage and help your child to listen to their body’s own hunger and fullness cues and to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.
Creating healthy food behaviors starts with kids recognizing how they feel when they eat and being mindful of their bodies.
5. Be Aware of The Language You Use Around Food
The language we use around food can have a powerful impact on our children.
As you model positive food behavior, avoiding using negative language around food, such as calling foods “unhealthy”, “fattening” and again, “good” or “bad”. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of food, such as how it nourishes our bodies and provides us with energy.
If children are taught to view food as a neutral piece of keeping their bodies healthy, it creates a much healthier mindset around food and eating in general.
When we model healthy eating and food behaviors at home, our kids watch and learn.. Starting with these 5 tips – eating as a family, offering a variety of foods, avoiding using food as a reward, teaching moderation, and being mindful of our language – we can create a positive and healthy eating environment in our homes. Remember, the habits we model today can have a lasting impact on our children’s health and wellbeing.
If you’re looking for more info or support in creating healthy food and eating habits in your home, reach out to us at Beyond Speech and we will put you in touch with one of our Registered Dieticians.
We would love to support you and your family!