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10 Best Healthy Eating Habits For Preschoolers

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I’ve been researching how to get my kids to eat healthier. I’m always looking for ideas to get my kids to eat better! This led me to study healthy eating habits for preschoolers.

“Experts” are everywhere telling you what you should be doing as a mom. But it can be tough to figure out what’s best for your family.

This article offers simple, take-action advice for busy moms. These tips will help you create healthy eating habits for your preschooler.

Healthy habits in early childhood will stick with children throughout their lives.

How to Teach a Preschooler Simple Healthy Eating Habits

Raising healthy children is no easy task! Sugary snacks are always competing for their attention.

Getting kids to eat right and stay active can be challenging. But the choices made in childhood have a lasting impact. This motivates me to be intentional about their health.

Ways that healthy habits benefit your child:

  • Keep up their healthy habits throughout their lives.
  • Help to lower their risk of developing chronic diseases later in life.
  • They are less likely to deal with unhealthy weight gain.

On the other hand, children with unhealthy weight gain are more prone to:

  • Depression
  • Poor self-image
  • Low self-esteem

So you can see the importance of nutritious foods. Physical activity is also important from an early age.

Doing this will likely help your child achieve a healthy weight. Plus, you are laying the groundwork for a healthy future. What a valuable gift this is for your child!

Healthy Eating Habits For Preschoolers

preschoolers eating a salad

Don’t Force Your Child to Make Healthy Food Choices

Getting preschoolers to eat healthy foods can be challenging. It is hard when they see their friends eating unhealthy snacks.

Encouraging your child to make healthy food choices is better than forcing them.

Forcing your children to eat healthy food will usually backfire. It could lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. This is a good article about kids and food power struggles.

Make it your goal to have different nutritious foods in your kitchen. Doing this will help your children learn how to make healthy food choices.

Toddler Food Tray Ideas has some great food and snack ideas for picky eaters.

You can lead by example by eating healthy foods yourself. And by explaining to your preschooler why you make those choices. A positive approach helps your child develop healthy eating habits.

Praise your child when they make healthy food choices!

Avoid Eating Out Too Often

One goal as a parent is to be sure that your children are healthy and happy. Making healthy choices with food is a part of this goal.

Eating at restaurants makes it hard to control the food your child eats. Plus, restaurant meals are often high in calories, fat, and sodium.

It is best to limit the number of times you eat out as a family. Focus on preparing meals at home using healthy ingredients.

Eating at home will help your preschooler develop good eating habits. It also allows you to spend more time together as a family.

When you choose to eat out, it will be a special treat your preschooler will enjoy.

Shop and Cook With Your Preschooler

mom cooking healthy food with preschooler

Involve your preschooler in shopping and cooking for your meals. This is one of the best ways to teach your children healthy eating.

It may seem like your preschooler is too young, but they are capable of a lot! Just keep it on their level.

Start by taking them to the grocery store with you. Let them help choose some healthy foods. Have your child choose fruits and vegetables they would like to eat. Let them help you choose healthy recipes.

Be sure they see that their input is important to you. Then they will be more likely to make healthy food choices. Stay away from the junk food aisles!? .

Then, involve them in cooking while preparing meals at home. Let them help wash the vegetables, stir the pot, or set the table.

They will learn healthy eating AND important life skills. And who knows? They might even enjoy it! And you are building precious memories together.

Have Family Meals Together As Much As Possible

family eating dinner together

Eat meals together as a family as much as possible. This is one of the best tips to teach your preschooler healthy eating habits.

Family meals help everyone to enjoy a nutritious meal together. This provides a chance for parents and children to connect.

Families who eat together communicate better and have stronger ties. Children who eat with their families also have healthier eating habits.

Try Not to Use Food as a Punishment

Using food as punishment can cause unhealthy eating habits later in life. This is because they may associate healthy eating with negative feelings.

Instead of using food as a punishment, here are some things to try:

  • Try to make mealtimes fun and upbeat. Encourage kids to try new foods, and praise them when they eat something healthy.
  • Involve them in meal planning and preparation. This will help to encourage your preschooler to eat nutritious meals.
  • A positive approach to healthy eating ensures lifelong healthy habits.

Plan For Balanced Food Outside of the Home

Healthy eating at home is only part of the equation. Eating healthy at restaurants or for school lunch is important.

Look for restaurants offering healthy options like salads and grilled chicken. Also, avoid places specializing in fried foods or junk food.

Include foods from the different food groups when you pack your child’s lunch. Ensure perishable items keep cool if they aren’t eaten right away.

Avoid Eating While Watching TV

Avoiding eating while watching TV is essential. Studies show children who eat while watching TV are more likely to be obese.

They consume more calories and make less healthy food choices. When you eat while watching TV, you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating.

You are likely to overeat and choose unhealthy foods. You’re also more likely to snack later in the day. So try to turn off the TV and sit down with your child at the table for meals.

Choose Healthy Snacks

preschool boy smiling and eating vegetables

What your preschooler snacks on matters just as much as what you serve for meals. After all, snacks are a great time to sneak in some extra nutrients.

It also helps your child develop a taste for healthy foods. So, how can you ensure your preschooler’s snacks are nutritious and delicious?

First, focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods provide the fiber and vitamins kids need to grow and stay healthy.

And, when it comes to snacks, fresh is best. To save time, look for healthy, pre-packaged, and easy to grab on the go.

Read the label to choose options low in sugar and high in nutrients.

Include Fruits and Vegetables in Their Daily Diet

Feed your preschooler fruits and vegetables at a young age. This helps to develop a taste for healthy foods. This is not the time for a McDonald’s french fry!? You will never get them back on track!

It can be hard to get your child to eat their veggies, but a few tricks can help. Try serving vegetables with dipping sauces or as part of a fun snack mix.

Sneak veggies into their favorite foods. Puree them and add to sauces or soups.

My kids love what they call “Mimi soup”. It is simply chili, but my mom makes it, so they love it!? She uses a 13 bean soup mix with lots of chopped veggies. They have no idea!??.

Avoid Processed Foods

preschooler eating watermelon

Avoiding processed foods is one of the best things you can do. These are some reasons to cut out processed foods:

  • Processed foods are usually higher in salt, sugar, and fats.
  • They also contain unhealthy additives that can harm your child’s health.
  • They lack essential nutrients for your child’s growth and development.

By contrast, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are:

  • Packed with the nutrients that your child needs to grow and thrive.
  • They are lower in sugar, salt, and fat. This them a much healthier choice for your child.

Final Thoughts

The ten healthy eating habits we’ve listed are a great place to start. But they’re by no means an exhaustive list.

Your preschooler will have cake and Mcdonald’s now and then. But it’s their daily health habits that will matter the most.

Do what works the best for you and your family and stick with it. Eating healthy is not always easy, but it’s worth the effort.

By teaching your preschooler these good habits, you’ll set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. I would love to hear any healthy habit ideas for your preschooler!

This is a lovely Month of Healthy Meals for Kids from our friends at

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