As a parent, it's important that you provide your child with every opportunity you can, including a chance at good health. When it comes to your child's diet, what you feed your child will directly affect their health and even their risk for diseases and other medical conditions as they grow older. Make sure you keep nutrition a top priority.

1. Set Mealtimes

Food is fuel for the body, so eating should not just be a pastime. Allowing a child to eat whenever they want without any real structure can increase the risk of overeating. To avoid this problem, it's a good idea to set mealtimes for your children, such as set times for lunch and afternoon snacks, and stick to the plan. 

2. Talk About Food

As your child gets older, have an open dialogue about certain foods and the effects they have on the body. For example, let your child know how water can hydrate them and make their body perform better while also explaining how a sugar-loaded can of soda can hurt them. The more educated your child is about food, the better they will be able to make better decisions about the food they eat. 

3. Be Creative

If you want your child to eat more vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods, you should learn how to be creative. For example, if your child doesn't care much for fruit but loves frozen treats, consider pureeing the fruits and freezing the mixture. The frozen texture of the fruit and its natural sugars make it a great dessert that is much healthier than ice cream.

4. Practice Moderation

You should never prevent your child from eating a certain type of food unless it is medically necessary. Restrictive diets are harmful and generally backfire in the long run. You should instead teach your child how to practice moderation. For example, allow your child to have a piece of candy on occasion, but limit the amount they can have and how often they can enjoy the treat. 

5. Be an Example

Let your child see firsthand what a healthy diet looks like by following one of your own. It's hard to tell your child that they should eat vegetables and other healthy food options if you don't eat them yourself. Whenever you prepare a healthy meal for your child, you should have the same thing they are eating.

If you have questions about your child's diet, speak with a pediatrician. From identifying any areas of concern to helping you develop a meal plan for your child, a medical professional can help.

For more information on pediatric care, contact a doctor.