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Helping your child to eat healthily

You do not need to force healthy eating on your child. There are a number of things you can do to encourage healthy eating at home.

Tips for healthy eating


  • make healthy foods and choices available (for example, have a fruit bowl)

  • make fruit the snack of choice

  • introduce new foods slowly without comment

  • stick with changes, it may take several times to succeed

  • turn off the TV and keep phones away when eating

  • make changes as a family - for example, a healthy swap 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

  • let your child help you prepare food, as this might encourage them to eat what they've made


  • do not keep unhealthy snack foods such as biscuits, crisps and sweets in your house

  • do not ban any foods outright, such as ice cream and sweets - a ban can make these foods more appealing

  • do not make a fuss if your child eats sugary foods at a friend’s birthday party - it’s a party treat

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. A child's appetite can vary and increase as they grow. Listen to your child when they say that they have had enough.

Get support has meals, recipes, diaries, reward charts, help and support to help parents encourage healthy eating and activity.

Children and fussy eating

Page last reviewed: 24 November 2022
Next review due: 24 November 2025

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.