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Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating in Kids: 7 Things To Remember

Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS · Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Sep 12, 2022

    Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating in Kids: 7 Things To Remember

    Eating healthy food is very important, especially for growing children. But, as most parents would know, trying to make your kid eat veggies and other healthy food isn’t always easy. To help parents out, we’ve created this helpful list of 7 ways to encourage healthy eating in kids.

    7 Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating

    Children are notoriously picky when it comes to food. Even kids who are usually eager to try out new things have some food that they absolutely dislike. And most of the time, these are healthy food such as vegetables and fruits.

    How exactly can parents encourage healthy eating? Here are some things to remember:

    1. Plan Meals with Your Child

    A good way to encourage healthy eating is to plan your weekly meals along with your child. Not only does this provide your child with autonomy, but you’re also guiding them on making the right food choices.

    This is also a great way to make them try out new foods, and they’ll even be more excited since they’re a part of the meal planning1.

    2. Let Them Choose What To Eat

    Another approach to ensure your child eats healthy is to let them choose what to eat. Present them with various choices of healthy meals, and let them decide on which of the meals they want to eat for that day.

    This way, they don’t feel restricted or limited in their food choices. The important thing is to make sure that the food you’re giving them are all healthy options.

    3. Mix Things Up

    Vegetables can be cooked in various ways. If your child doesn’t like boiled or steamed vegetables, why not try giving your child a salad or stir-fried vegetables2? The same goes for meat, fish, and other foods.

    By mixing things up, you’re making mealtime exciting and something that your child can look forward to.

    4. When Eating Out, Choose Healthier Options

    Of course, it’s normal for kids to want to eat fast food every so often. After all, burgers, fries, pizza, and  other foods are very tasty, and are okay to have once in a while.

    Despite this, it’s still a good idea to choose healthier options. For example, instead of fried food, opt for grilled food instead. Instead of ordering softdrinks, opt for fruit juice or even just water. Avoid upsizing meals, and try to cut back on desserts as well.

    This way, the negative health impact that fast food can have is minimized.

    5. Practice What You Preach

    If you yourself aren’t eating healthy, then your child will likely try and do the same. Set a good example by eating healthy food yourself, so that you can encourage your child to follow suit.

    6. Make It a Fun Experience

    Meal time isn’t just about refueling. Its a great way for the family to bond and tell stories about their day. Making it fun and exciting helps build up their appetite, and also makes them more excited to try out new and exciting healthy meals with you.

    7. Don’t Bribe Your Kids

    Sometimes, parents bribe their kids with dessert in order to get them to eat healthy food. This is not a good approach since your child won’t learn the value of healthy eating.

    Instead, try to be patient with your child and understand things from their point of view. This makes it easier for you to know why they dislike a certain food, and what you can do so that they start liking that food.

    Key Takeaways

    It is important for parents to know that they should never force their kids to eat healthy food. While this might work in the short-term, children will associate negative experiences with these healthy foods. This means that as they grow older, they might not take these healthy eating habits to heart.

    There are many ways to encourage healthy eating. The best way to approach it is to be patient and understanding with your child. Try to encourage them instead of forcing them so that meal time is enjoyable and fun. It should be a positive experience for them so that they can develop healthy eating habits as they grow older.

    Learn more about Parenting here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

    Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Sep 12, 2022

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