The 10 best eating habits for children and toddlers

The early years of childhood are a time of immense growth and development, both physically and mentally. Establishing healthy eating habits from an early age, not only influences the immediate well-being of children but also lays the groundwork for a lifetime of good health. 

This article will explore the ten best eating habits designed to help you guide your child toward a nutritious and balanced diet.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information included in this material is for informational purposes only. Always seek medical advice for any concerns about health and nutrition.

What is meant by good eating habits or food habits?

Good eating habits, sometimes called food habits, encompass the choices, behaviors, and routines associated with food consumption. For children and toddlers,  eating habits are not limited to what they eat but also encompass when, how, and where they eat. 

Toddlers are at a stage of rapid growth and development, and the dietary choices and habits they establish during this critical period can have long-lasting effects. Early exposure to nutritious foods and positive mealtime routines helps develop a taste for wholesome options, ensuring that children are more likely to make healthy food choices as they grow.

Top 10 good eating habits for your child

Here are the top 10 good eating habits for your child:

1. Variety is Key

Ideally, you should offer a wide range of healthy foods to your child. A varied diet of healthy ingredients ensures a balanced nutrient intake.

The dietary guidelines by FNRI-DOST: Pinggang Pinoy suggest that children should incorporate a diverse range of foods from the food groups in every meal into their diet including;

GO: rice, root crops, pasta, bread and other carbohydrate-rich foods

GROW: fish, shellfish, lean meat, poultry eggs, dried beans, and nuts (tuna, sardines & mackerel 2-3 times a week), milk, and other calcium-rich foods like dilis and small shrimps

GLOW: wide variety of fruits and vegetables

2. Lead by example

Children often mimic their parents' behavior, so it's important to demonstrate healthy eating habits yourself.

3. Regular meal times

Stick to a consistent meal schedule with regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner times, and avoid skipping meals.

4. Address picky eating early 

If your child is a picky eater, don't force them to eat but offer a variety of foods and be patient. Seek professional advice if picky eating persists and affects their nutrition.

5. Limit sugary foods and drinks

Minimize the consumption of sugary snacks, candies, and soda. Opt for healthier alternatives like fruits or water.

6. Healthy snacking

Provide nutritious snacks, such as frozen fruit popsicles, yogurt, or whole-grain crackers, between meals to keep their energy levels steady.

7. Hydration

Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day. Limit the consumption of sugary beverages and avoid excessive fruit juices.

8. Food safety 

Teach your child about food safety, including proper handwashing before meals and the safe handling of food to prevent illnesses.

9. Avoid food rewards 

Don't use unhealthy foods as a reward for good behavior. This can create an unhealthy association between emotions and eating.

10. Monitor growth 

Keep track of your child's growth and development by regularly visiting the pediatrician. This ensures they are receiving proper nutrition and are on a healthy growth trajectory.

Remember that consistency and patience are key when establishing good eating habits in children. It's essential to create a positive and supportive food environment at home, where the focus is on nourishment and enjoyment rather than restriction or coercion.

Signs of bad eating habits

Bad eating habits can have a detrimental impact on your child’s health and well-being. Here are some common signs of bad eating habits:

  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Low energy levels
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Digestive issues
  • Dental problems
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Cravings and binge eating
  • Lack of meal regularity
  • Emotional eating
  • Limited variety
  • Hunger and fullness signals

If your child exhibits these signs, it may be beneficial to seek guidance from a nutritionist-dietitian to establish healthier eating habits and improve overall well-being.

Help your kids grow Strong and Healthy

Helping your child grow strong and healthy is a top priority. As they develop their meal preferences, watching over what they consume and building the necessary habits will allow you to secure their short- and long-term wellness.

With this article, it should be much easier for you to encourage good eating habits for the child. If you’re planning to switch up your child’s diet, choosing better options is a must. As the No. 1 Milk Formula Brand in Europe, choosing HiPP Organic can provide solutions for nutrition gaps without added artificial sugars. Visit our online store today and browse our powdered milk drinks.

Frequently asked questions on good eating habits for kids

What are good food habits?

Good eating habits, sometimes called food habits, encompass the choices, behaviors, and routines associated with food consumption. For children and toddlers,  eating habits are not limited to what they eat but also encompass when, how, and where they eat.

How to have good eating habits?

To establish good eating habits, focus on eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Pay attention to portion sizes, stay hydrated with water, and limit processed and sugary foods.

Why should you observe good eating habits?

Observing good eating habits is vital for maintaining overall health, preventing chronic diseases, and supporting physical and mental well-being. It also promotes sustained energy levels and a higher quality of life, enhancing longevity and reducing the risk of health issues.

How do food habits originate?

Parents significantly influence the eating habits of their children through early exposure to foods, the establishment of family food traditions, role modeling, shaping the home food environment, using food for rewards or punishments, educating about nutrition, and encouraging exposure to diverse foods. 

These influences play a pivotal role in shaping children's dietary preferences and choices, which can continue to impact their food habits throughout their lives.


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[2] Seattle Children’s Hospital. (n.d.). Healthy Eating Habits - Seattle Children’s. [online] Available at:  Accessed 13 Oct. 2023

[3] Cleveland Clinic (2022). How to Teach Kids Healthy Eating Habits. [online] Cleveland Clinic. Available at:

[4] Guide, H.F. (2016). The top 10 healthy eating habits to give your kids. [online] Healthy Food Guide. Available at:

[5] Delish. (2021). There’s A Scientific Reason Cilantro Tastes Like Soap To Some People. [online] Available at:

[6] Kids, B. (2023). 10 Good Eating Habits to Teach Kids. [online] Ameya World School. Available at:  Accessed 13 Oct. 2023


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