Proper nutrition is important for normal growth and development of your child. But the difference is that children are not so well-informed about the value of rational nutrition as their elders and cannot decide about their diet. That is where setting your own good example can really benefit. You should make healthy eating a regular part of your family's life. Explain your kid why nutrition is so essential in life, give simple instances to illustrate your point but don't let your explanation become a lecture. Try to develop a positive attitude - your efforts will have a long-term impact.
First of all stick to the schedule of eating. Meals should be spaced out. Snacks just before meal do no good. Don't let eating become a pastime, a way to avoid boredom or a reward for anything. Substitute it with other things (e.g. going to the Zoo, playing outdoor games, so on). Children get used to the routine very fast.
Offer a variety of food. Encourage your child to try something new. Let him/her try it several times - eventually he/she will learn to like it.
Forcing your child to eat will lead to negative consequences. Trust child's appetite. Probably a helping is too big for him/her. You can try to split it up. What counts is the average of what a kid eats over several days.
Choose your child's diet carefully. It should include lots of whole grains, fruit and vegetables. At the same time opt for low in fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt foods. For that learn how to read food labels. Remember that children get a lot of sugar and extra calories from beverages. Provide your child's diet with essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium and iron to meet his/her growing body's requirements.
Limit eating out. Most likely your choice will be a fast food joint supplying all of you with empty calories. Instead of that have meals together at home as a family as often as possible. That will promote good nutrition and family communication.
Balance your kid's food with physical activity. Make it a routine and fun for your child. Play outdoor games together, go for bicycling, hiking, bowling... for a walk at least. Choose any activity your child will enjoy.
Traveling doesn't make an exception. Neither yours nor your child's health and life go on hold because you are on vacation. Your child is asking for a treat all the time and it's so easy just to give in and ruin kid's eating routine. Not to make fast food and high-calorie drinks something inevitable, pack your own snacks and plenty of portable fruit. While eating in a restaurant choose something very home-made like, light and of natural origin. Helpings served are usually big, so you can offer one dish for two people and split it.
Learn your child how to enjoy healthy eating, be a role model and remember that rational nutrition is all about balance!