Children are like sponges, soaking up knowledge and behaviors from their surroundings, particularly from their parents. This holds true for their relationship with food as well. Let’s explore the profound connection between parents’ attitudes, behaviors, and habits around food and how they shape their child’s eating habits.

From a young age, children observe and mimic their parents. Here’s a closer look at how this happens:

Imitation: Children are keen observers. They watch how you interact with food, your body language during mealtimes, and your choices when it comes to what’s on your plate. For example, if you enthusiastically devour a plate of colorful vegetables, your child is more likely to view veggies in a positive light.

Emotional Associations: Children pick up on the emotions surrounding food. If you express joy, contentment, or even stress during mealtimes, your child can absorb these emotions, which may influence their future eating habits. For instance, consistently enjoying family meals with laughter and positive conversations can create a pleasant mealtime environment.


Tips to positively influence your child’s relationship with food


Mindful Self-Reflection: As parents, the first step is to become aware of your own attitudes and behaviors around food. Take a moment to reflect on your relationship with food, your preferences, and any biases you may hold. Understanding your own food journey helps you make informed choices as a parent. Using screens while eating, even a TV, is going to set a bad example for your child. So make sure you practice healthy eating habits yourself before trying them on your baby.

Setting the Environment: Approach mealtimes with enthusiasm and positivity. When you express genuine delight in trying new foods or savoring familiar ones, your child is more likely to adopt a similar outlook. Consistency in your positive attitude sets the tone for the dining experience. Talk to your child about the food that you are eating. Simple phrases that tell them how to have a positive outlook on food and meals will help in the long run.

Consistency: Children thrive on routines and consistency. Establish regular meal and snack times, providing a structured approach to eating. Consistency in this routine helps children develop a sense of predictability around food, reducing mealtime stress.

Balanced Meal Planning: Prioritize balanced and nutritious meals. When planning meals, incorporate a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Your consistent meal choices introduce your child to diverse options and promote a balanced diet.

Mindful Eating: Practice mindful eating by savoring each bite and paying attention to hunger cues. Avoid distractions like screens during mealtimes. Your consistent mindfulness sets an example of focused and enjoyable eating, fostering a mindful food relationship for your child.

Minimizing Sugary and Processed Foods: Create a home environment that limits the availability of sugary and highly processed foods. When these items are less accessible, your child is less likely to develop a preference for them. Consistency in this practice shapes their taste preferences towards healthier options.

Try New Foods Together: Transform trying new foods into a family adventure. When introducing unfamiliar items, engage your child’s curiosity by exploring them together. Consistency in this approach communicates that trying new things is a fun shared experience.

Cook and Prepare Together: Involve your child in meal preparation. Even young children can wash vegetables, stir ingredients, or assemble meals. Consistency in this engagement fosters their interest in food and cooking, and they learn valuable skills.

Food Education: Teach your child about different foods, their origins, and their benefits. Share interesting facts and stories about the foods you eat. Your consistent food education makes eating a fascinating learning journey, and your child will grow up valuing the importance of a diverse diet.

Praise Efforts: Encourage your child’s adventurous eating attempts. Even if they don’t immediately embrace a new food, praise their willingness to try it. Consistent positive reinforcement boosts their confidence in exploring new flavors.

Avoid Negative Comments: Refrain from making negative comments about foods or their eating habits. Instead, offer constructive feedback and gentle encouragement. Your consistent positivity nurtures a healthy food relationship.


By modeling a positive and adventurous approach to food, you set the stage for them to become confident, open-minded eaters. Your child is watching, learning, and growing, guided by the wisdom you impart about food and eating.