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​Creating Good Eating Habits In Our Children

When my daughter was younger and considering a man to marry, my main requirement was that he was not a picky eater. Not a junk food addict, that he was open to try new things and had reasonably good table manners. Not much to ask for in a son in law is it?

Now married with four children she has the challenge of developing those good habits in her children.

At her home we have a saying about what is served for dinner. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”Mom decides what’s for dinner. They eat dinner with me and their Pop Pop two nights a week. The planning involves the family in the beginning of the week. With the help of the family the dinner is prepared, served and cleaned up after.If you want dessert you eat what you put on your own plate. A no thank you bite of everything is required. If you try it and really don’t like it you can say “no thank you” to more. Parents decide what a reasonable minimum is. We only serve water with dinner. Juice should be treated as a dessert or treat. It certainly has as much sugar.

The smaller we are the more often we need to eat and the less amount at each sitting. That being said what time do you want to serve dinner? Back the last snack at least three hours from that time. Make sure the last snack is not a high sugar high carb item.

If they choose not to finish they will not get anything else until breakfast.

Involving the kids in the planning of the week’s meals and preparation will create invested interest. They will be more excited about the meal. Allowing them to serve themselves at a very young age will teach accountability. We waste way too much food in this country. Teach them to take a little, they can always have more.

When it comes to what you plan to eat. Make it balanced, make it fresh, and make it simple. Grilled chicken, rice pilaf, fresh vegetables. Turkey Meatloaf, homemade Mac and Cheese and fresh vegetables.Build your own Turkey Tacos with lots of fresh vegetable toppings. Lean beef is good too.

More simple fresh dinners, Omit processed freezer meals. Less high carb starchy foods, more produce.

Dessert is really a good incentive to get kids to finish but it doesn’t have to be a big thing. A treat form the jar, a small scoop of ice cream with sprinkles, a cookie, a glass of chocolate milk. A Smoothie.

Use the weekend or Birthdays as a special time/occasion to go out and get a pizza, eat fast food or indulged in something decadent. We talk allot about what is in the things we eat and how it will help us. Protein builds muscle etc… I was at a hamburger place eating a turkey burger while my grandkids had beef burgers. We were discussing why I did not choose the beef burger and I explained that there was not as much fat in the turkey burger and since I had just lost allot of weight I choose a less fat option. Then the conversation moved to the fries. I told them that there is simply nothing in a fry that would make it a healthy choice.Not enough potassium in the potato to justify the fried fattening part. As my 7 year old grandson held up a crispy fry dipped in ketchup and said “But Grandma they make me so Happy”.I smiled and said that in itself can be a reason to eat a fry once in a while!