Thursday, April 14, 2011

Healthy habits win dinner battles

IF you have ever been in a household with young children, you may have seen the battlefield.

Food flung missile-like lays strewn all over the floor, a defiant little soldier refuses to give in, while on the other side, the parents, sag in exhaustion.

But teaching children to eat, and eat well, need not be a battle, according to dietitians.

Food and Nutrition Australia dietitian Sharon Natoli said mealtime madness could be avoided if parents established healthy eating habits in their children early in life.

She suggested parents make and eat healthy meals with their children as one way of encouraging them to make healthy choices from a young age.

Her sentiments are echoed by Sunshine Coast dietitian Julie Norton, who is completing PhD studies in how parents influence their children’s eating habits.

Ms Norton said the best thing parents could do to get young children to eat, and eat healthily, was to lead by example.

“It’s not what we say as parents, it’s what we do. If you’re trying to get a child to eat breakfast, and you’re not eating breakfast yourself, you’ve got Buckley’s,” she said.

“But if you can sit down and eat the same food as the child, the child is more likely to eat it.

“A lot of parents say they haven’t got the time for themselves because they are so busy running around with their kids.

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