"It can be hard - almost impossible sometimes -to change your child's rigidly held eating habits. Instead of trying to overhaul every meal and snack at once, begin by making a few small changes, one at a time, toward a more nutritious diet. Pick just a few items to start with. Once these become routine, then change another couple of items. If you follow this process, you'll find that within a year you will have improved your child's overall diet significantly; and likely affected his lifelong eating habits."
"Your attitude about food is critical to your child's developing outlook. It's no surprise that studies have found that parents who don't like vegetables have children who don't like vegetables. It's assumed that these parents don't serve many vegetables and treat them as villains when they do.
One study found that the more a child is lectured about the merits of eating vegetables, the more he assumes they will taste bad and the more he will resist even trying them -- children catch on quickly when parents are trying to sell a behavior they don't truly believe in or follow in their own lives. Conversely, several studies found that when parents eat more fruits and vegetables, their children do too. Once you realize that your actions are on display to your child as a prime tool for teaching lifetime beliefs, you can modify your own behavior to set the best example. The side benefit is that you'll be healthier too."
"What's in your kitchen? A typical home contains plenty of healthy food, along with an assortment of snacks, desserts, and less healthy fare. An adult can sift through all this and decide what's best to eat, picking healthy options and judiciously choosing the right time for and amount of junk food and desserts. Children, however, will naturally be drawn to the tastiest option, with no guilt over the resulting choice. They will open the refrigerator or pantry and pick the most appetizing thing they see.
How can you help your child make better choices? The best way is to put the healthy foods where they can be seen easily and allow your child to choose between the nutritious options in view. Place desserts and junk foods on high shelves or in opaque containers. This way you can dole out the treats when and where you feel they're appropriate."
"Make family dinnertime a routine because your children who eat with their parents will eat healthier overall, have better social skills, be less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs later in life, and stay closer to you emotionally throughout childhood, and perhaps beyond. Family mealtime does not have to be formal, structured, or complicated to reap great rewards. A night when you eat sandwiches around the table while chatting about anything under the sun counts just as much as those more formal dinners. There are four things that shouldn't be brought to the dinner table: lectures, reprimands, rigid expectations, and demands for specific conversation. The key to success for the family dinner idea is regularity-four to five times a week or more. Families that make a practice of dining together in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere reap the most benefits."