Forming children's eating habits

Forming children’s eating habits

Proper nutrition from childhood is the foundation of healthy development.

Many factors influence eating. The main physiological factor that makes us eat is hunger. Appetite, which can be influenced by past experiences or the environment, can also drive us to eat. The appearance, smell, taste, and texture of food play an important role in whether we find it appetising or repulsive. Psychological factors include variations in food choices, our emotions, and habits, which are crucial in determining whether a person eats something or not.Eating habits are also strongly influenced by the physical and social environment around us: the availability of food, the time and place of eating, information about food, portion sizes, the influence of mass media, including advertising, food laws, role models and relationships with others, cultural background, behavioural norms, values, attitudes, skills, knowledge, the socio-economic status of the family, and so on.

Forming healthy eating habits in children can be a significant contribution to their future lives. Here are some important aspects of this process.

The influence of family and home environment

The family plays a crucial role in shaping children’s eating habits. Parents are role models for their children, so their eating habits have a significant impact. It is important to avoid the practice of giving children sweets as a comfort or reward, as this can lead to emotional overeating in the future.

Regular family meals contribute to forming a positive attitude towards food. Children who see their parents enjoying a variety of dishes are more likely to try new foods.

The role of childcare institutions

Nurseries and schools also influence children’s eating habits. It is important that these institutions provide healthy and balanced meals. Additionally, educational programmes should include lessons on the importance of proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Practical tips for parents

  1. Offer a variety of foods: Encourage children to try new dishes. It is important to offer them several times, as children may need time to get used to new tastes.
  2. Be a role model: Eat healthy food yourself, and your children will follow your example.
  3. Create meal rituals: Regular meals in a calm atmosphere help children develop a positive attitude towards food.
  4. Avoid using food as a reward: This can lead to emotional overeating.
  5. Educate your children: Explain why it is important to eat healthy food and how it affects their health.

Forming healthy eating habits in children requires time and patience. It is important to create a positive and supportive environment where children can learn and experiment with food. This is an investment in their future health and well-being.

Olga Bezugla, a dietitian, emphasises the importance of balanced nutrition for children, which will help ensure their harmonious development and healthy life.