Guiding your child to a variety of healthful foods and encouraging them to be curious about where it comes from, how it can be prepared, and what effect it will have on their body is a great way to bond with them. Showing a kid how a tomato has seeds, and a core, and skin, will make them curious as to what's in other foods. Pointing out how that tomato's potassium will build strong bones and immune system, and how something called lycopene will keep their eyes sharp, personalizes the experience. Making food fun can spark a lifelong respect for healthy eating habits.
It's not just about what they eat, but how they eat, and how they come to view food in their lives. For instance, Spire Healthcare found that, "Healthy meals with the family help children to develop a positive attitude towards food and lower the risk of obesity in later life."
National Institutes of Health suggests that: "Children with "food values" (those who have learned to prefer and choose vegetables and other fresh food) are significantly more likely to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle into their adulthood."
Instilling "food values" has many methods. Making sure your child can identify fun shapes and colors will bond them with vegetables and fresh foods. Teaching your child to try an array of fruits in different preparations will excite their palate and they will respond positively to continuing to choose them. Having a schedule of healthy eating habits with other members of the family builds a foundation of trust and inclusion.
Making sure that your child also follows these habits at school, or while away at a friend's house, will be helped immensely by your instilling these "food values" very early on.