It’s easy to get distracted by the nuances of nutrition. There are so many moving parts. But all those details boil down to three habits.

My experience shows that when parents focus on teaching good habits, good nutrition comes along for the ride. When they focus on nutrition, however, it’s easy to (inadvertently) teach bad eating habits.

Teach habits before you focus on nutrition. Print out this download. Share it with your friends.

Then, below the graphic read about the most common ways parents inadvertently teach the wrong habits. And how you can avoid making those very same mistakes.

Proportion: Parents often feed kids the “at least” diet. “At least those chicken nuggets have protein.” “At least that yogurt has calcium.” In the process they inadvertently reinforce their children’s taste preferences for sweets and treats. Instead, serve small amounts of fruits and vegetables throughout the day so they become familiar, “go-to” foods. Read 10 Ways Improving Your Kids’ Snacking Will Improve YOUR Life and The Happy Bite

Variety: Parents often feed their children the same foods day after day, especially when it comes to breakfast, lunch and snack. This inadvertently teaches children to expect a routine, monotonous diet. Use the Rotation Rule—don’t serve the same food two days in a row— to teach kids to expect variety. Read End Picky Eating With The Rotation Rule and 5 Easy Ways to Mix-It Up: The Rotation Rule in Action.

Moderation: Parents often inadvertently teach children to overeat by insisting they eat two more bites or finish their food. Use the Eating Zones Rule—no grazing!—to ensure kids come to the table hungry. Prompt kids to pay attention to their tummies. Read Hunger vs Appetite and Mommy, What is Moderation?

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~