Helping your child to eat healthily

To help your child to eat healthy, don't force it.

The importance of breakfast

Make sure your child eats breakfast every day. It gives children energy that they need. Lead by example and make sure you eat a breakfast. Sit down with your child for breakfast as often as possible.

Other meals

Use children's plates and bowls to give your child a small portion of food. Children's appetite can increase according to your child's growth. Do not try to over feed your child.

Tips to help your child eat healthily

Do not keep unhealthy snack foods such as biscuits and sweets in your house. Make healthy foods and choices available. For example, have a fruit bowl.

Let your child help you prepare food, it might encourage them to eat what they've made.

To help your child eat healthily:

  • don't make big lifestyle changes, introduce new foods slowly without comment
  • don't fuss about unhealthy food choices, focus on the healthier options
  • persist with changes, it may take several times to succeed
  • make fruit the snack of choice
  • avoid TV and phones when eating
  • introduce healthy swaps as a family such as changing from white bread to wholemeal bread
  • include vegetables at main meals and fruit at lunch
  • agree a day where everyone has a treat
  • choose milk and water as your drinks

Do not ban any foods outright, such as ice cream and sweets. A ban can make these foods more appealing.

Don't make a fuss if your child eats sugary foods at a friend's birthday party. It's just a party treat.

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.

Page last reviewed: 15 March 2018
Next review due: 15 March 2021