How To Encourage Children To Eat Healthily

Image Credit: Brooke Lark

This is a guest article by TV parenting expert and NHS clinical psychologist Claire Halsey. She was the presenter of ITV's Driving Mum and Dad Mad and is the author of a number of parenting books including Ask An Expert: Answers Every Parent Needs to Know and Baby Play for Every Day

Claire has got together with Capri-Sun 100% Juice to give some top tips on different ways to get children to eat more healthily and develop positive attitudes towards food.

Q: How do I encourage my children to eat a healthy breakfast?

Mornings are always rushed and leave little time for a healthy breakfast. Give your family more time by getting school clothes and bags organised the night before; then get up a few minutes earlier so you can all eat together without fear of being late.

Children love to join in so on weekends get them to make their own breakfast. Porridge or cereal with fruit are both easy to manage with a little help.

Q: My children won't sit down for a whole meal, what can I do?

Get the timing right – your children will come more willingly if meal times begin after their favourite TV show or game finishes. Cut out distractions, turn off the TV or radio and make meals a relaxed time for chatting and catching up. Reward them for staying at the table – your praise and a favourite drink such as Capri-Sun 100% Juice will motivate them to stick around.

Q: How can I help my child develop a positive attitude towards food?

Lead by example – eating at regular times rather than snacking and sitting down to food rather than eating on the run will ensure that your child picks up your good habits. Eat together – your child will love having your company at mealtimes and learn to associate food with positive attention.

Take the emotional heat out of mealtimes – if you are concerned about what or how much your child eats, do approach this calmly and avoid arguments or ultimatums about food.

Q: My child plays with his food what can I do?

Food colours and textures are appealing to your child so some playfulness is to be expected. To get his attention away from playing and onto eating sit close by so you can guide and remind him about table manners, then heap on the praise when he uses his cutlery with care.

Q: I am throwing my child a birthday party but am dreading all these hyperactive children. Any ideas?

Keeping children busy is the key to a successful party so have a stream of organised games. Keep the party short – two hours is plenty of time for activities and a meal.

Break away from traditional party food and replace sweets and crisps with fruit and dips. Serve Capri-Sun 100% Juice and you've included another serving of their five-a-day.

Q: How can we keep active as a family?

Help your family stay healthy and start the exercise habit by finding activities you all enjoy. Set aside time as a family once or twice a week to be active and make the most of your local facilities such as the park and leisure centre. Dance and sports can also be a good way to stay fit and have fun. You may not attend your child's classes but do ask to see the new things they have learnt every week and have practice sessions at home.

When you feel your life revolves around taxiing your children to various sports and clubs, count your blessings that they're out there getting active!

Q: What are your tips for being a relaxed parent over half term?

Have a change of scenery. Find out about any local activities and outings available and take advantage of as many as you can. Get a balance – children enjoy outdoor fun to let off steam and quieter, more relaxed activities at home, so plan for both everyday.

Your time and attention are the best reward for your children, so simply spending time together pottering in the kitchen, playing a game or having a walk will be their hearts desire.

Q: Any ideas to help my child's she's a real picky eater?

Relax, and keep trying her with new foods, your persistence will be rewarded. Praise your child for what she's eaten, rather than highlighting what she's left; then finish off with a Capri-Sun 100% Juice as a treat for eating her meal.



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About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!








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