How Do You Instill Good Eathing Habits In Young Children?

I'd appreciate any thoughts.
fascad3 fascad3
36-40, M
11 Responses Jul 13, 2010

Thanks folks. Putting unnoticeable healthy foods in with things they like is a good idea. We need to do that more. There just isn't much that is liked that we're able to do that with, but we'll keep trying.<br />
<br />
You know, it is entirely our fault as parents. We haven't "done as we taught" very well. Junk food has been a vice of mine since I was a kid (and my mom kept in in the house). If they'd never tasted the stuff we wouldn't be having this problem.

I echo the suggestion to give the healthy food to them. Make sure they see you eating it. Be enthusiastic. Avoid "this is good for you" statements. Our kids are now grown, but they LOVE beans, peas, brocolli, cauliflower, eggplant, cabbage, peppers and EVEN brussel sprouts. <br />
<br />
Also figure out what they like. If they gravitate toward certain foods and seem to want to eat only those, then present everything as a "flavor" of that food. One daughter only ate chicken and spaghetti during one phase. So ham became pink chicken, beef was brown chick, fresh pork was white chicken, and turkey was big chicken. Same thing with pasta -- manicotti became tubular spaghetti, lasagna became rectangular spaghetti, ravioli became square spaghetti. <br />
<br />
In the end, do whatever works. Don't force them to eat anything they don't like. It backfired on us every time. You can also hide a multitude of veggis in spaghetti sauce (we'd chop zuchinni, yellow squash, and carrots finely and saute it with onions and ground beef adding it to spaghetti sauce and our kids never knew the difference.

My kids use to eat anything that was put on their plates, one day they just stopped and started with the I don't like that mummy and totally stopped with most meats nearly all veggies and I began the what ever lie it took game to get them to eat, e.g pumkin became Pa's magic pumkin that he grew especially for them and it had magic powers, spag bol became cheesy pasta because of the cheese grated on top, crumbed chicken became fariy shapes (not chicken at all). just to name a few.<br />
<br />
We also have the no dinner no desert rule in our house, which sometimes does not make any difference youngest will say thats ok mummy I'll have it tomorrow, but I find it far easier not to fight to get them to eat it does'nt work, if you think about it what they will or won't eat is sometimes the only control they have in their lives when they are young and what they are doing is testing their independence.<br />
<br />
I have decided that with my girls as long as there is good food on offer and they eat a even mixture of good and not so good they will be ok, they love fruit, dairy and cereals, they always have a good healthy breakfast. I will not stress over meals anymore there are enough stresses in our lives without adding food to the mix, get them outside keep them active and all will be ok. My girls are happy heathy active kids and I'm happy with that.

Fascade, the pediatrician will tell you they can go close to three days without food, if they are properly hydrated. Seriously! I mean it's not like you are trying to feed them raw squid! <br />
If your kids are pretty young, try cutting up interesting foods and put them in muffin tins. Give the kid one of those little plastic swords to stab the food and eat. They love this!<br />
<br />
uliftmeup, thanks goodness our budgets and bellies lead us to expanding our palates, eh?

mom used to try anything on me when i was a kid, but nothing worked.. but then at high school i had to live away from my parents and on tight finance, i started to appreciate any foods in hand.. plus some of my friends didn't picky on foods, so it was kind of some pressure on finance and a good contagious attitude from good friends :)

Yeah the bribing we do but even that gets old. It's like a constant challenge. Looking for some 'out of the box' ideas to try.<br />
<br />
I say just let them go without until they get hungry enough to eat good food... but for some reason the wife just doesn't go for that... heh.

Oh yeah, that works too.<br />
I love your comment, chiquita69. :-)<br />
<br />
I think the first mistake parents make,<br />
is thinking they have all the answers to parenting.<br />
<br />
It's a hands on job, for sure

I will probably get crucified for this but we sometimes use bribery to get those veggies inside of them. We can't go to the show unless you finish the broccoli on your plate, we can't buy that Junie B Jones book unless you make those carrots disappear, etc....<br />
<br />
I know it's terrible, but it works and we were desperate.

How old are your kids?

Yeah we keep healthy foods on hand all the time. They just don't prefer it and won't eat much of it at all. We hardly ever get them to eat vegetables and the less cooked, the less soft and the less they eat.

Good question! <br />
I'm not a nutritionist, but the best way to get them to eat healthy food is by GIVING IT TO THEM!<br />
I hear parents complain all the time that little Billy will only eat hot dogs and orange powder macaroni.<br />
Well, who's fault is that?<br />
Kids naturally like brightly colored fruits and veggies. Don't over-cook the veggies! All of my kids are good eaters, always have been. Sure they all like a hot dog, but I served it with crunchy, red pepper strips instead of fries.<br />
Also, get them involved in the food prep. Kids love to say they "made it," even if it's putting peanut butter on apple slices. Our youngest has been making his "famous" cucumber salad since he was 3. And I taught him how to use a real knife!