Recommendations for young children


Children thrive on routines and love to know what is expected of them. Even though every child and family is different, it is important to recognize the benefits that consistent routines provide for children. Daily routines help children learn a sense of independence, stability and value. Set times for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with healthy snacks throughout the day to make meal times more relaxed. Most children are happier on a schedule and will become hungry at regular times.

Tips for helping make mealtime a positive experience for children:

  • Allow your child to eat at his or her own pace.
  • Mealtimes are opportunities for children to learn independence by making choices about food.
  • Encourage your child to taste everything, but do not force him or her to eat. Because children are picky eaters by nature, it may be necessary to present them with a new food several times before they actually eat it on their own.
  • Serve a variety of healthy foods (perhaps different foods on different days) so your child can get all the essential nutrients even if he or she doesn't eat some of the foods.
  • If you don't have junk food in the house or don't put it on the table, your child will get hungry and eat the healthy food.
  • According to JR Harris in her book "The Nurture Assumption", the best way to encourage a child to eat a food is to serve it when other children who like it are present so your child can see the other children enjoying it; seeing an adult enjoy the food has little impact.