How Can I Improve My Child's Eating Habits?

I want to try to reform my daughter’s unhealthy eating habits. But I am worried that by not letting her eat high-calorie, high-fat junk food, I’ll be paving the way for her to develop an eating disorder. I want her to be healthy, but I don’t want to make her unhappy about herself either. How do I handle this?
– Julie

Balance is the most important thing when developing healthy eating habits. Teach your daughter to eat healthy foods the majority of the time, and to save fattening junk foods for occasional treats. These treats should not be completely banned or else they will be even more appealing to your daughter!

Encourage healthy habits by having family meal times, by being a good role model, and by stocking the house with a variety of healthy food options. Encourage three meals a day, with healthy snacks in between. Give your daughter ways to boost her self-confidence, give her lots of compliments, and encourage her to talk to you about any concerns that she may have about her body image.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011

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