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Kids & Healthy Eating

Aug 17, 2007
What parent doesn't want their kids to eat healthier? We've all had to bribe, cajole, threaten and manipulate our children at least once, but wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to stoop to such heavy handed tactics? Here are some tips to help you out.

Start early! Don't wait until it's too late and your child's already ruined by sweets and treats. Once they've tasted ice cream, it's harder to get them to eat broccoli. And if you've waited too long then you'll just have to be strong and realize your kids might not like you for a few days.

Make sure you have a good variety of healthy foods available to your children. This prevents them from latching on to one food or one food group. Sure they'll still have their favorites, but a variety of vegetables and fruits will help them to get used to all of their varied tastes.

Try combing foods they like with foods they don't. For example, stir-frying onions with zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and snow peas isn't as bad as sitting down to a whole plate of broccoli. It also helps to make sure the pieces are small enough so your child gets some carrots with her zucchini.

Be strong! This is very important for teaching a child to eat what's good for them. Tell them that this is what we're having for dinner and there's nothing else for them to eat. They'll get hungry enough to eat what's served them if there are no other options available.

Which reminds me. Don't bring any food in the house that isn't part of a healthy food plan. That's right! No snacks, cookies, sweetened cereals, pastries, treats - whatever - are permitted. This might seem harsh, but you have to decide who you're raising; healthy, smart kids who don't get sick or fat or sick kids with learning disabilities who grow up to suffer degenerative diseases.

Stay away from people hell-bent on corrupting your children with candy and treats. It's amazing to me how so many well-meaning people like a bank teller or a relative offer my children lollipops or cookies. Teach your children to smile and politely say,
"No thank you." And if it's a relative that's always offering your child a treat, then ask them to stop or stop visiting them (a third option is to make them take care of your kid during his sugar buzz and subsequent crash - they'll never do it again).

Here's another free tip for kids and healthy eating that might fall into the harsh category, but if you think about it seriously you'll see how important it is. Don't let your kids watch commercial TV. Yes! You read this correctly. The majority of the ads on TV are about food and getting your children to eat these unhealthy foods. TV commercials are the nutritional education for 95% of the population and virtually nothing advertised on TV has any nutrition in it. You'll see a huge decrease in your child's food cravings when you turn off the tube.

And finally, the most important tip of all is for you to set a great example. How can you expect your children to eat fish, vegetables and whole wheat bread when you don't? How can you get them to give up ice cream when you won't? They look to you as a role model so you might as well live like one because if you don't, then you have no right to complain about their poor eating habits, obesity, ADHD and the time you have to take off work to care for a sick child.
About the Author
Michael Byrd has over 18 years of education and experience in the fields of physical therapy, health, fitness and nutrition. To get Michael's recommendation on fish oil supplements and the true benefits of fish oil, visit him at http://www.squidoo.com/fishoilsupplements.
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