Being a healthy role model to your children

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You are the most important influence on your child. You can do many things to help your children develop healthy eating habits for life. Offering a variety of foods helps children get the nutrients they need from every food group. They will also be more likely to try new foods and to like more foods. When children develop a taste for many types of foods, it’s easier to plan family meals. Cook together, eat together, talk together, and make mealtime a family time!

Show by example

Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains with meals or as snacks. Let your child see that you like to munch on raw vegetables.

Go food shopping together

Grocery shopping can teach your child about food and nutrition. Discuss where vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods come from. Let your children make healthy choices.

Get creative in the kitchen

Cut food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters. Name a food your child helps make. Serve “Janie’s Salad” or “Jackie’s Sweet Potatoes” for dinner. Encourage your child to invent new snacks. Make your own trail mixes from dry whole-grain, low-sugar cereal, and dried fruit.

Offer the same foods for everyone

Stop being a “short-order cook” by making different dishes to please children. It’s easier to plan family meals when everyone eats the same foods.

Reward with attention, not food

Show your love with hugs and kisses. Comfort with hugs and talks. Choose not to offer sweets as rewards. It lets your child think sweets or dessert foods are better than other foods. When meals are not eaten, kids do not need “extras”—such as candy or cookies—as replacement foods

Focus on each other at the table

Talk about fun and happy things at mealtime. Turn off the television. Take phone calls later. Try to make eating meals a stress-free time.

Listen to your child

If your child says he or she is hungry, offer a small, healthy snack—even if it is not a scheduled time to eat. Offer choices. Ask “Which would you like for dinner: broccoli or cauliflower?” instead of “Do you want broccoli for dinner?”

Limit screen time

Allow no more than 2 hours a day of screen time like TV and computer games. Get up and move during commercials to get some physical activity.

Encourage physical activity

Make physical activity fun for the whole family. Involve your children in the planning. Walk, run, and play with your child—instead of sitting on the sidelines. Set an example by being physically active and using safety gear, like bike helmets.

Be a good food role model

Try new foods yourself. Describe its taste, texture, and smell. Offer one new food at a time. Serve something your child likes along with the new food. Offer new foods at the beginning of a meal, when your child is very hungry. Avoid lecturing or forcing your child to eat.

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Author: Bibian Okoye

A Retired Chief Nursing Officer, PGDip IHM

8 thoughts on “Being a healthy role model to your children”

  1. Hi Bibian, you have such a wealth of ideas for being a food role model. 

    My kids love to help out in the kitchen. So, I’d take these ideas to heart and try to apply them when I get my own kids. 

    I like the idea of making meal time, fun time. And, also, the idea of naming foods they help make after them. That’s so creative and fun. 

  2. Thanks for writing this article on being a healthy role model to our children.i must commend you for taking your time to write this meaningful article on family,the way the parent should set a good example to there children.been a role model to our children in every area of there life is essential because each and every of our doings is what our little children a picking into there brain either bad or good and that is the same type of role model they are going to be to there child too in future.example if you are bad parent to your child, is possible he is a bad parent to his child also in all aspects of life 

  3. Hi Bibian,

    I think your counsel and advice as a Chief Nursing Officer are the duty of every parent to follow. It is just unimaginable that such an important issue described in a few sentence and simple language! However, I’m newly married. And this article will hopefully play an important role for my family in the near future. I request you to write a series of such valuable reviews. I’ll bookmark your blog. Thanks a lot for the excellent article.


    1. Thanks Ranao   

      Am so glad that you found this article very helpful,You can always keep a tab with us for more captivating topics

  4. Being a healthy role model for your children is so very important. I love all the points you make on how to go about doing this. I would love to add, and/or, to sum it up that the best thing you can do is to teach kids that food is a celebration! It should be joyful, fun, creative, inspiring to eat, and it should be shared and enjoyed as family time. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Bibian,

    Thank You very much for sharing such an informative article with all the necessary information about “Being a healthy role model to your children”

    Really this is an educative post.I like the article very much.I have learned a lot from this article.This is very important for all parents to become a role model for their children.Children copy their parents activity.Giving a good upbringing to our children is very essential.For this purpose every parents should become a healthy role model for their children.In this regard your article is very helpful as you highlighted the article so nicely.I have gained all the thorough details and i am going to apply these ideas when i have my own children.I will also share this article with my family and friends so that they can benefited from this.

    1. Thanks Mahbub 
      It’s our duty as parents to live an exemplary life worthy of emulation from our kids. We need to really put all the effort to train them properly like we were trained. Sometimes I feel we are loosing our kids to social media so we need to stay strong and be there for them when they need us

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