Close this search box.

Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Top 10 Ways to Establish Healthy Eating Behaviors

Print & Share
Top 10 Ways to Establish Healthy Eating Behaviors

Use these easy tips and tricks to help your kids learn healthy eating behaviors and to enjoy foods that are good for their bodies!

Helping your kids learn healthy eating behaviors doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little creativity and consistency, you will be amazed at how your kid’s eating habits turn around.

Reward good choices!

New research shows that offering children a small, tangible, non-food reward for trying new vegetables makes children more willing to try and learn to like new foods. Non-food reward ideas include stickers, an extra bedtime story, or extra-verbal praise and hugs.

Offer a variety of foods.

Offering a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, and items made with whole grains. Check out the Healthy Kids Today Prevent Cancer Tomorrow campaign for fun activities, lesson plans, and tasty recipes.

Don’t give up!

Continue to offer opportunities to taste new foods to continue towards healthy eating behaviors! Kids may need repeated exposures up to 30-50 times before they accept a new food. Here are 5 ways to sneak veggies into meals. After it’s clearly evident they liked the dish, have the kids guess what ingredients were used!

Set goals each week.

Set a health goal at the beginning of the week with the kids. Let them help choose the idea. This will empower them to take control of their health. Track their progress throughout the week, and choose a prize for the family if they reach their goals, such as a family trip to the park. Here is a list of healthy eating ideas to help you get started.

Use the Super Crew Colorful food tracker to get kids interested in eating at least 4 colors of foods each day. They’ll have fun coloring in the hearts to represent the foods they ate and will be motivated to out-color their siblings or parents!

Use a “don’t yuck my yum” rule.

Don’t allow the use of negative words to describe food. This is especially important if you have more than one kid. Often, kids are influenced by their peers, so even if they do like a vegetable or were planning on trying it, hearing that it is gross can discourage them from eating the food. Instead, let kids describe why they don’t like the food — is it too bitter? Does it have a strange consistency? This will get kids really thinking about the foods as they eat.

Try these easy, family-friendly, and delicious slow cooker recipes. Using the slow cooker can free up time in the evening for family bonding, and reduces the last-minute stress of deciding what to cook! The Instapot will be a sure hit as well with this Instapot Cashew Cheese.

Turn off the TV and sit with your children during meal times!

One study found that children who watched more TV and ate fewer family meals were more likely to be overweight. Enjoy each other’s company and talk about the taste, texture, appearance, and healthful aspects of the food served.

Don’t force your children to finish everything on their plates.

This helps create an anxiety-free environment for them to enjoy their food. Let your children learn to recognize their hunger cues and express their satiety.

Make a meal together.

Here are 3 easy recipes to make with your little chefs. Encourage your children to explore their senses when handling different ingredients. Try your best to relax and let them experiment. Don’t stress about the mess!

Getting your kids to eat healthy foods can be difficult, especially with so many unhealthy options all around. If you hit some bumps along the way, don’t be discouraged and don’t give up! Persistence and consistency are key when teaching your kids that healthy foods can be satisfying and delicious. Doing so in a fun, anxiety-free way will instill lifelong healthy eating habits. Don’t forget your children learn from what they see others doing, so it’s important that you model healthy behaviors! Here are some great ways to model physical activity through play.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

Similar Articles You May Like...

About the Author

Picture of Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

Sign Up Today

Sign up for our newsletter and get realistic, easy & tasty ways to eat healthy. Plus get free fun kids' activities!​

Get our free guide Say “No” to Food Rewards when you join.