How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Foods Instead of Junk

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Playing How Do I Teach My Kids to Eat Healthier? They Only Want Junk Food!

Do you struggle with getting your kids to eat healthy foods? Does it seem like they only want to eat junk? You're definitely not alone. 

Family physician and child development expert, Dr. Deborah Gilboa, says parents asking how to get their kids to eat healthier is one of the most common parenting questions she gets. 

"Until kids are about 10 years old, it's pretty straightforward to teach them healthy options because adults control their food access. With the exception of school hot lunch, adults at-home purchase most of the food and the only decisions kids make are about which to take and how much to eat," explains Dr. G.  

"Even if they eat some meals at grandparents' homes or with their other parent, you can teach them what food fuels their body best by only having those foods around," she says.  

However, when children become more independent and begin making their own food choices, they may not understand which options are best for their needs.  

"As kids get older, the balance shifts to them acquiring their own foods more often, and then they need to understand the purpose of food and how it best serves their body," Dr. G adds.  

As you teach your children about proper nutrition, Dr. G says it’s important to not be too judgmental about certain types of food.   

"One of the most powerful things we've learned in the past two decades is that food shame is harmful, and that food isn’t "good" or "bad"—it’s food," she says. 

"What kids need to learn about are different types of foods: proteins, vegetables, and fruits + how useful it is to balance those out in our bodies. Think about food like fuel and tell them about giving their bodies great fuel so their bodies will do whatever they need them to: like have energy, be strong, grow well, play, move, run, and learn," Dr. G adds.  

Dr. G also answered other frequently asked questions about parenting emotionally distant teens, allowing screen time for preschoolers and dealing with back-talk from your kids

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