Family Tips: Parents/Caregivers as a Healthy Role Model

Parental/caregivers attitudes towards healthy lifestyle choices, as well as food choices that parents/caregivers make, have a huge influence on children’s lifestyle and eating habits. Here are some tips to help parents/caregivers model healthy eating for their children. 

  • Eat what you want your children to eat and show them how you enjoy the food. Avoid telling them your food is adult food. 
  • Eat where you expect your children to eat. Sit with them at mealtime and enjoy your meals together.
  • Discuss what you are eating – what are you enjoying, what textures are in your food? Ask children if they have eaten what you are eating and encourage them to ask questions about their meals.
  • Eat portions recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. Point out that your meal might be larger, but it contains the same food groups in adult portions. 
  • Try new foods with your children and do not force them to eat them.  Serve a new food with a familiar food. If there is a food you avoid, explain why.
  • If possible, grow or prepare food together.
  • Involve your children in meal planning and grocery shopping.

Additional tips for modelling positive physical activity behaviours include:

  • Participating actively with your children. Do not passively supervise their active times.
  • Create active games with your children. Be creative with equipment and surroundings and encourage them to as well.
  • Enjoy the physical activities you are participating in with your children. 
  • If there is a physical activity you avoid or do not want to participate in, explain why. 
  • Expose your children to a wide variety of physical activity options. Discuss preferred activities and let children pick an activity for the family.

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