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Following on from our article about Veggie Kids, I’d like to know if you have any ideas about promoting healthy food to your children? The hardest part for me is modelling good eating habits, I do eat healthy main meals but I’ a bit of a crisp addict which my kids have rumbled.

I find that the more I involve them in shopping and preparation, the more likely they are to eat healthy snacks and dinners. We choose vegetables they like, and they help me chop and cook them. This (usually!) makes them more willing to eat the results!

Another thing is having healthy snacks readily available- I keep the fruit bowl on a low table and healthier snacks towards the bottom of the fridge.  This probably only works when they’re as small as mine though!

My daughter (3) is usually “very very hungry” (read starving) around 4pm, so just before dinner time. The rule is if she wants to eat something so close to a main meal it has to be fruit - if she isn’t too tired at this stage she happily chooses banana, apples or grapes. I look forward to adding berries to the selection as soon as they become available.

I think when my children were little it was much much easier to encourage healthy eating. Now as teens it’s virtually impossible. I’ve always eaten quite healthily as a rule and our meals are always balanced. However my husband, when he cooks, ALWAYS forgets to cook a vegetable accompaniment and it drives me potty! I’d happily eat a veggie meal but the rest of the family are meat, potato and veg people so my husband thinks nothing of serving up burger and chips or chicken and mash without any veg at all! I don’t get it. I’d never put a meal down without veg and i don’t think he should either. Causes many arguments in this house. The teens as a rule eat ok meal wise, but they will often buy rubbish when out with friends but there’s nothing I can do about it. I just think it’s a phase they’ll go through but i like to think my habits will stick with them in the long run into adulthood. (Although it’s very possible they’ll choose my husband’s habits instead!!) They know what’s healthy and what’s not. They know the negative affect some things can have on them. It’s now down to them to make their own choices and i have to let them do that while making my own.

I think modelling good behaviour is key to fostering healthy eating habits in children. I swear by the fact that I cooked their food from scratch right from the beginning (memories of billions of little ice cubes of pureed carrot and apple!). I also have a rule that we eat really healthily in the week and then it’s okay for all of us to have silly treat food at the weekends. Healthy snacks on hand is also really important (for me too!).

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