Parents are better served giving their children what they eat themselves, a new study suggests.
Researchers from The University of Edinburgh looked into 2,000 families with five-year-olds and discovered that children who eat the same as their parents have a better chance of eating healthier than those who do not.
The research paper has suggested that the Government should advise families to stick to simple meals to ensure their children get into good habits from an early age.
The Infant & Toddler Forum, a team of early years' experts, launched the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers scheme in 2010. It offers simple advice on foods and behaviours that can be applied wherever toddlers are fed.
Judy More, paediatric dietitian and member of the Infant & Toddler Forum, said its own research indicates that parents often feel anxious about giving their children nutritious meals and snacks. More than one in three have stated clear practical advice would make their lives easier.
"To address this need, we set out to review the existing evidence on toddler nutrition and produce a set of simple messages that are aligned with current government advice and promote family meals," said Ms More.
"Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers consists of ten easy-to-follow practical steps to support families and carers with toddler mealtimes, looking at behaviours as well as nutrition."
The Infant & Toddler Forum teamed up with healthcare professional bodies to compile the 10 steps. It is working alongside partners to make sure parents, carers and healthcare professionals all have access to the guidance.
Copyright Press Association 2013