Essential To Your Children's
Teach your kids to eat healthfully and they will
healthy eating habits that will reward them with a lifetime of good
health. All kids can be taught to be healthy eaters. The best time to
start is when they are infants. But even older children, with the
proper encouragement and motivation, can learn to eat healthfully and
enjoy healthy food. Click here for help in choosing
General Guidelines To Help Get Your Kids
- Get the whole family involved.
- Choose only fresh whole foods: fresh fruits and
vegetables, a little whole grains and healthy protein, organic if
- Use the Personal Food Planner from HEALTHY EATING: For Extremely Busy People Who
Don't Have Time For It . Give each family member their own
"Personal Food Planner."
- Sit down with your child and together list some
healthy foods that your child likes and can substitute for the foods
you want to eliminate from his or her diet. Encourage your child to
suggest healthy foods. Make sure your child agrees to the healthy foods
so that he or she will eat them instead of the unhealthy foods. Try to
get some healthy foods that everyone agrees upon, though they don't all
have to be the same.
- Make this a healthy eating adventure, exploring
new and healthier foods to eat instead of a dull, boring diet.
- Use my "80-20 Rule." If you eat healthy food
the time, you can have an occasional "forbidden" treat. However, after
eating healthfully for a period of time, 6 months to a year, depending
how quickly you transition to total healthy eating, you'll probably
forget about the "80-20 Rule" because you won't crave unhealthy foods
anymore. If you do, then your body isn't getting all the nutrients it
Here are some guidelines for the different age
groups to help you get your kids eating healthfully.
When your baby is ready to start eating solid
feed them only fresh whole foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, a little
whole grains and healthy protein, organic if possible. Use a baby food
grinder to grind up the same fresh foods you eat. If your child eats
only healthy foods, they will have their favorites that they will ask
for and eat eagerly without any coaxing or bribing.
Do not feed them candy, cookies, ice cream, chips
other sugary, refined and processed foods. Keep the food additives out
of their foods. Let your relatives, friends and childcare providers
know that they are only to eat the healthy foods you allow and not to
give them any "forbidden" treats.
Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers
If your child has already tasted the sugary,
and refined foods, make a game of using the "Personal
Food Planner" with her. Help your child choose the healthy foods to
substitute for the unhealthy foods. Cut the fruits and vegetables into
different shapes and make pictures with them.
Use praise generously when they are eating the
food choices. You may want to even have a reward system for eating
healthy foods. Have a
special non food reward for them every time they eat the healthy foods.
If they stick with it for a whole day, a few days, a week, have a
treat as a reward. Bigger rewards for longer periods of time like a
trip to favorite place, going to a movie or
something they value but don't get a chance to do often. Be creative.
When children get into school, they will be around
eating unhealthy food and they will want to eat what the other kids
eat. Start talking with them about health and healthy food and what
unhealthy food does to your body on a simple level. Even young
elementary age kids can understand this when put in language
appropriate to their age. When my daughter was 7, she asked me to take
her grocery shopping with my FOOD ADDITIVES
book so she could learn to read labels. Every time she goes shopping
with me now, she picks up packages and tells me what's not healthy
because of the ingredients on the label.
Use the "Personal Food Planner" and ask your child
come up with healthy choices they like. If they have a hard time
thinking of healthy choices, start listing some of their favorite
healthy foods they can choose from. Have them write down their choices
on their "Personal Food Planner." Let them take ownership of it.
When your child goes to school, always pack a
lunch for them, unless you have an outstandingly healthy school lunch
program. Let them help choose the healthy foods you put in their lunch.
If they have a hard time coming up with healthy choices, give them
several choices to choose from. And give them a special healthy treat
that they really like as a reward for eating the lunch you pack for
them. Also, on special occasions, you may want to send a favorite
healthy treat to school with them when you know the kids will be having
refined, sugary treats. My daughter's favorites are my Blueberry Muffins and Carob Fudge.
As kids get older, it is helpful to use my "80-20 Rule" as motivation
for eating healthfully. If they choose the healthy food 80% of the
time, let them have an occasional "forbidden" treat. My daughter often
reminds me of my "80-20 Rule" when birthday parties or other special
occasions come up. She actually does a very good job following it
without too much input from me.
Teenagers have a lot of peer pressure and feel a
need to do what the other kids do to fit in. With this age group, it is
very important to teach them about nutrition and why it's important to
Before using the "Personal
Food Planner," read and have your teen also read HEALTHY EATING: For Extremely Busy People Who
Don't Have Time For It and FOOD ADDITIVES: A Shopper's Guide To What's
Safe & What's Not.
Together look at food packages and read the ingredients on the labels
and check in FOOD ADDITIVES to see if they are safe or unsafe.
Make sure the whole family is working on eating
healthfully at home and discuss with them how they can eat more
healthfully when they are out with their friends. Talk with them about
the consequences of not eating healthfully. Use non-food rewards as
appropriate for making healthy food choices.
Healthy eating should be a family
affair. Kids eat what they are taught to eat. Teach them to eat healthy
food and show them by example. Talk about healthy eating and healthy
food at home, the importance of eating healthfully and the consequences
of eating unhealthy food - diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and
disease in general.
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