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Healthy Eating Habits for Kids (video)

A pediatrician explains how to create healthy food habits

A pediatrician explains how to create healthy food habits

McKenzie Coffin, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley, discusses the importance of healthy eating for children, why it needs to start at an early age and what parents can do to encourage healthy eating habits for their kids.

Best parenting advice?

Leading by example for your children is really the best way to try to enact healthy choices, make positive change whether it’s from eating healthy to dealing with conflict. Really just modeling the things you want your kids to do.

Why start at an early age?

It’s really important to try to get your kids to establish healthy habits with their food habits from a young age. We know that the way the brain works, the patterns that you set into place as a young child tend to follow you into your adulthood. Food is for nourishment. It’s not for boredom. It’s not for entertainment. Don’t buy those cookies if you know you’re going to eat the whole thing. Setting up those healthy expectations and relationship with food early on keeps it going your whole life.

What are some good healthy options?

There are different kinds of choices you can make when trying to find healthy foods. There are the obvious, such as fruits and vegetables. You can spice it up a little bit with some hummus, some peanut butter in the right serving size. Check serving sizes when you’re using things like that. You can prepare a bunch of hard-boiled eggs all at once. It’s right there and easy to choose from.

What happens if we don’t?

If we don’t set our children up with healthy eating habits from an early age, we are doing them a disservice. If we have unhealthy eating habits, we’re at higher risk, especially if we become overweight later in life, including diabetes, high blood pressure, joint disease, heart disease and high cholesterol. These are things that we really have the option and ability and the need to prevent starting from an early age.

Watch more Ask the Expert videos now for quick answers to common medical questions.