We want the best nutrition for our kids, but our daily pleas to “Eat your vegetables” seem to fall on deaf ears or, worse yet, result in a tantrum or other power struggle. Can we convince our children to make smart food choices and eat healthily without seeming like a wicked witch?
Here’s how to get kids to eat healthy by using these three tips:
1. Control the cupboard by stocking it with healthy choices. It’s much easier for your kids to make smart snacking decisions when the unhealthy foods are not in the house. Keep your pantry full of your children’s favorite fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome foods right at an eye level and leave the sweet stuff on the store shelves.
2. Offer options as you plan your meals, letting your kids have some say in what they’ll be eating. Chicken or fish? Peas or carrots?
3. Avoid the arguments that lead to power struggles over food. However, much we beg, bribe, or outright demand, can force our kids to eat. On the contrary, these efforts actually encourage our kids to wage dinnertime battles by rewarding them with attention. Remove that payoff by letting your child know in advance that you won’t respond to his refusal to eat, and that you also won’t be giving him more food until the next scheduled snack or meal – even if it’s breakfast. He won’t starve overnight, but next dinnertime, he will remember the consequence of not eating.
With a little planning and cooperation, your family will be on the Yellow-Brick Road to healthier eating habits and fewer mealtime fights.