Your First Steps

Set up a regular snack and meal schedule. Most children do well with three meals and two or three snacks a day. When your child's body is used to a schedule, hunger and appetite become more regular. This helps your child feel more in tune with his or her body and its needs.

Find at least one food from each food group that your child likes, and make sure it is readily available most of the time. Don't worry if your child likes only one vegetable or one or two kinds of meats or fruits. Kids tend to accept new foods gradually, and their preferences will expand over time.

Have your child eat a healthy breakfast. It helps your child stay at a healthy weight by starting calorie-burning for the day. If you are in a hurry, try cereal with milk and fruit, nonfat or low-fat yogurt, or whole-grain toast.

Eat as a family as often as possible. Keep family meals pleasant and positive.

Don't buy junk food. Don’t stock it in the house at all. Get healthy snacks that your child likes, and keep them available and within easy reach.

Be a good role model. Your own eating and lifestyle choices are a powerful teaching tool. Your child sees the choices you make and follows your example. Don’t ever think that they are not watching you.