If bad eating habits reign at home, it can be hard to change old routines. But by keeping bad foods out of the home and bringing healthy foods in, it's possible to promote healthy habits, even with the pickiest kids.
Here are some tips for parents from pediatric psychologist Eileen Kennedy, of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio:
- Once kids get their first taste of crunchy, sweet or salty foods, it's hard to get them unhooked. Because of this, instead of banning these kinds of foods outright from the home, limit the number of treats that kids are allowed to eat each day. That way, kids won't be as tempted to want what they can't have because the food won't be completely forbidden.
- Rather than giving kids money for treats at school, make it clear the kids can instead save the money and spend it on non-food items.
- If parents want to buy a treat or a kind of junk food and bring it into the home, buy the smallest possible package of that food instead of the economy bulk sized packages.
- Encourage kids to drink zero-calorie beverages instead of sugary juices and soda.
- When cooking dinner, always make sure to have one item that the kid likes and will eat. Also, cook a limited amount of the starch dish (just enough for one meal) and cook extras of the fruits and vegetables to encourage seconds.
Pass it on: Even if your kid is used to eating junk food, there are small changes parents can enact to promote healthy eating.
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- Junk Food Nation: How Parents Are Ruining Kids' Health
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Maria is our expert for medicine, fitness and general health. Her contributions are particularly convincing through completeness, accuracy and her own personal experience. Maria also writes for other health magazines, which has enabled her to build up her expert status.