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How can I teach my child to make healthy food choices when eating out?

Hi everyone,

I am a mother of a five-year-old boy who loves eating out with us. However, I am concerned about the unhealthy food choices he might make when we dine out. I would like to start teaching him how to make healthy food choices when eating out, but I'm not quite sure where to start.

We like to eat out once a week, and usually, it's at a fast-food chain or a family-style restaurant. I want my son to understand that it's okay to enjoy these meals occasionally but that he needs to choose healthy options when he can.

Do any of you have suggestions on how I can begin to teach him how to make these choices? Are there any guidelines or rules of thumb I should follow? Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

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As a mom of two elementary school-aged boys, I have been through the challenge of teaching healthy eating when dining out. What worked for me is to involve my children in the decision-making process.

Before heading out to a restaurant, I would ask them to choose one healthy food from the menu, and then they get to choose whatever they want. This way, it makes the experience more fun for them, and they make better choices without feeling restricted.

Additionally, I would always choose healthier restaurants that focus on fresh, whole foods whenever I could, so that the boys have less opportunity to pick unhealthy options from the menu.

Finally, sometimes we bring our food to the restaurant. It means that my children can enjoy their favorite foods in a more relaxed restaurant environment and, more importantly, it is healthier than the restaurant fare.

Overall, teaching healthy eating when dining out requires patience and creativity. The key is to make sure that our children feel involved and empowered, rather than limited or restricted in their choices.

I hope this helps everyone!


Hello everyone,

As a health-conscious parent myself, I believe that it's essential to educate our children about how to make healthy food choices when eating out. One of the things that worked for me is to talk to my children about the importance of eating balanced meals.

Before we go to a restaurant, we would have a conversation about what makes a healthy meal and what healthy food options are available on the menu. I would also keep track of what they are eating and encourage them to make healthier choices.

Another strategy is to make eating out at healthy restaurants, a fun family activity. It is an excellent opportunity to explore new foods and cuisines while also teaching the kids about healthy eating habits. My children love trying out new vegetable dishes and homemade smoothies.

Lastly, I limit my children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and turn to other healthier options like water with a slice of lemon or iced green tea instead. This helps them to reduce their sugar intake, keep them hydrated, and promotes healthy teeth and body weight.

Overall, it's all about balance and moderation. With patience and effort, we can teach our children to make healthier food choices, both in our homes and when eating out.

Hope these tips prove helpful to you all!


Hi everyone,

I completely understand the challenge of trying to ensure that our children make nutritious food choices when eating out. As a parent of twin boys, I have found that an effective way to promote healthy eating habits when dining out is to model healthy behaviour myself.

Instead of giving my children lectures or being too strict, I lead by example. I make healthy food choices, eating in moderation, and avoid unhealthy snacks or beverages, especially when eating out. This helps my children see that healthy eating isn't about being punished or deprived but rather about taking care of oneself.

Another strategy that has worked for our family is to take the time to review and compare the nutritional information of menu items. Many restaurants now provide this information online, and it helps to make informed choices, especially when ordering takeout.

Lastly, I encourage my children to listen to their bodies by reminding them that they don't have to finish their food if they feel full. I encourage them to pause, take a break, and think about how satisfied they are before continuing. This habit teaches them mindfulness around food, which I believe is essential for a lifetime of healthy eating.

In summary, I believe that healthy eating habits are formed when they become part of a family's lifestyle, which is something I am working towards every day with my children.


Hi there,

My approach to teaching my children how to make healthy food choices when eating out was to make a game out of it. We would challenge each other to find the healthiest item on the menu or the lowest calorie option.

Another thing we do is check the caloric intake of different meals before deciding on an item to order. Nowadays, there are several apps that can help you do this, and it's a great way to get your child involved in making healthy choices.

Also, I try to order a meal that is healthy myself, as kids learn by example. This means I choose something like grilled chicken instead of fried or fresh fruit instead of dessert. Plus, it's a great opportunity to introduce them to new foods and flavours!

Overall, it's important to strike a balance between enjoying the experience of eating out while still making healthy choices. Remember, occasional treats are okay, but moderation is key!

Hope these tips help you too!


Hi all,

I have a 7-year-old picky eater, and I understand the struggle of trying to encourage healthy food choices when eating out. One of the things I have found helpful is to prepare food before we head out.

I would usually prepare a light snack or meal at home before heading out. This prevents my child from being too hungry, which makes it easier for them to focus on making healthy food choices instead of choosing something because they are famished.

Another tip is to encourage my child to share meals with me or their sibling. Many restaurant portions are enormous, and it's easy to overeat. Sharing can help reduce the intake of unhealthy calories and promote healthier food choices for the whole family.

Lastly, I regularly research restaurants beforehand to find eateries with healthier options on their menu. This practice eliminates the pressure of searching for healthy options when we get to the restaurant and makes the process smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

I hope these tips help, best of luck with your little one!


Hi there!

I can relate to your concerns as a parent. When my daughter was younger, she also loved eating out, but it was a challenge to ensure that she made healthy food choices.

What worked for us was to involve her in the decision-making process. We would browse the restaurant menu together and talk about which options were healthier and which were not. I would also encourage her to try new foods and make a game out of it.

Another tip I found helpful was to look for restaurants that offer healthier options on their menu. Many restaurants now have a separate section for healthy options or include nutritional values on their menus, which made it easier for us to make informed choices.

Lastly, don't be too hard on yourself or your child. Eating out occasionally is okay, and it's important to enjoy these experiences without stress. Just try to make healthier choices wherever possible and enjoy your time together as a family.

I hope this helps!

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