We all set out to give our children the best start in life so how can parents get their children to eat healthier food? Here are some simple tips from safefood.

If you set a good example in what you eat yourself, chances are your children will do the same. Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan of safefood has this advice.

Rules of successful role modelling

1 Don’t force it
Don't make a big deal of any lifestyle changes you are introducing - just introduce new foods without special comment, and show how much you enjoy eating them (it goes without saying that if you detest Brussels sprouts, leave them off the menu for now).

2 Make sure the right food is available
Fill the fruit bowl, empty the treats cupboard.

3 Snacks don’t have to be unhealthy
If you always have a biscuit with your cup of tea, think about alternatives like a wholemeal scone or crackers and cheese.

4 Stay positive and persist
Focus on enjoying healthier options, and don't remonstrate too much about any unhealthier choices. The key thing to remember with any changes is to try and persist with them – it can take up to 10 times before you succeed. The more frequently children can try healthier foods, the more likely they will eat them but negotiate and compromise a bit, because this is also part of role modelling a healthy approach.

5 Appreciate every little step
Introducing any changes to the family's diet can often bring up some issues but try them one little step at a time. For example, swap battered fish for a fillet of fish, served with beans and chips. Better still swap the chips for some homemade potato wedges.

Every healthy choice is a step in the right direction.

Fact: In recent safefood research, 7 out of 10 parents said they know their own eating habits have a huge influence on their children’s likes and dislikes. Yet in the same research only 1 in 10 of us parents suggested changing our own eating habits to help our children.

Get your kids on the right road, one step at a time, with www.littlesteps.eu