Creating good eating habits

Written by    Last updated: September 12, 2007

Introducing solid foods is an important step in your child’s development and is likely to have a lifelong impact on your child’s attitude towards food…

Creating good eating habits

Introducing solid foods is an important step in your child’s development and is likely to have a lifelong impact on your child’s attitude towards food.

First foods

Move on to solid foods around six months, when your baby seems to demand more food or is less satisfied with just breast milk. Discuss with your health visitor about the right time to move on to solids.

Starting small

To begin with offer small amounts of food along with milk. At first, your baby may want just a teaspoon or two. Mashed potato or vegetables without added salt or sugar are ideal and will help to introduce your child to different tastes as well.

Relaxed time

Eating should be done leisurely and so set aside enough time for your child to enjoy and finish his meal.

Avoid distractions

During meal times switch the television off or even better, move to a room that doesn’t have one.


Make sure that your child is sitting comfortably and securely. Provide child‐sized cutlery so that he can eat by himself.


A great deal of the appeal of food is how it looks on the plate. Spread the food out rather than piling it high on the plate. Think of how it looks from a child’s point of view and experiment with combining different foods for colour and shape.


Introduce your toddler to a variety of different foods early on so that their palate gets to know various flavours and textures. Generally, babies and toddlers don’t like too much seasoning and prefer natural flavours.

Provide company

It’s human nature to want company while we eat food. Accompany your child by joining him at the table when he’s eating. You could even eat a bit of what he’s eating just to make it a sociable event.

Avoid fussing

If your child pushes the food away don’t make a big deal over it, as he’ll learn that it’s a way of getting your attention.

Signs of fullness

Give portions that are appropriate to the child’s age. Toddlers usually require less than a quarter of an adult portion. Don’t push the child to eat beyond their wish as it can interfere with awareness of getting full and may lead to obesity in later years.


If you want your child to eat well, try using encouragement rather than insistence. Show your appreciation when they do well and don’t react at other times.


Young children tend to find it easier to eat small meals with snacks in between. Try to think of the snack’s as mini meals and make them as nourishing as possible. As far as possible avoid cakes and biscuits, as they tend to be high in fat and sugar but low in important nutrients. At the same time, don’t completely ban sweets and fried foods; it’ll only make them more attractive.

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