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Kendra27
Kendra27 , Parent asks:
Q:

How do I get my 5 Year old to eat better foods? All he eats is Junk foods.

In Topics: My picky eater
> 60 days ago

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Expert

mheyman
Feb 7, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Many of the suggestions already made can be very helpful.  Generally kids eat what is available, so by not having as much "junk food" around, a hungry child will try and typically eat the other "healthier foods" that are available.  Careful not to create fights around food;  rather than saying "you cannot have that food any more", state that "that food is gone, so here, try this instead".  Certainly not having the foods in the home is an influence on what the kids will eat.
The 'rule of 15' still applies;  keep offering healthy options to the kids.  Eventually they learn to like many of these foods.  Just don't force them to eat, but of course set an example by eating these yourselves.
The previous suggestions regarding a stable mealtime and especially getting the children involved in food preparation are very productive suggestions.  The preschooler and Kindergardener involved in school or other (e.g., vegetable) food gardens often thrive and look forward to eating the foods they have grown and/or prepared in the kitchen.  

 

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Additional Answers (5)

jirwin
jirwin writes:
Sometimes it is hard adopting a healthier habit.  My girlfriend and I heard a segment on NPR, where someone suggested coming up with your own advertisement for the new healthy practice you want to adopt.  Now we say "OOO, I like that clean fresh feeling in my mouth after I floss!"  By flossing together and saying that afterwards, turns it into kind of a joke, and makes it much easier to keep up with that new habit.  

So my suggestion is to think up some kind of catch-phrase or jingle about the healthy veggies, or whole-grains you want your 5-year old to eat. Then just like advertisements, repeat it a lot, and have your son/daughter join in singing - it will turn it into a game. Kids love games.  

"Peas and carrots, your the one.  You make dinner time so much fun!"
> 60 days ago

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Dr. Hillary
Dr. Hillary writes:
Most children will choose junk food if given a choice.  I advise my patients' parents that everybody in the family has a responsibility if it comes to eating: parents are responsible for preparing nutritious meals, and children are responsible for eating it!

First of all, schedule regular meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, with healthy snacks in between to prevent hunger that may drive unhealthy snacking behaviors.  Second, take your child along when you go grocery shopping and have him select a couple of snack foods from several healthy choices your present.  And last, involve your child in food preparation.  The time spent together in the kitchen will be a fun quality  time that will give you an opportunity to teach your child healthy food choices.
> 60 days ago

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dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi Kendra,

Adding to the other great tips you received in response to your question, here are some resources on Education.com you may also find helpful...

Nutrition & Healthy Habits info center:
http://www.education.com/special-edition/nutrition-healthy-habits/

Stress-Free Dinners (that are healthy too):
http://www.education.com/facts-dinners/quickfacts-stress-free-dinner/homemade-butternut-squash-ravioli/

Recipe Activities (to have fun while cooking healthy food):
http://www.education.com/activity/all-grades/recipes/

Other JustAsk Q&A related to picky eaters:
http://www.education.com/answers/picky-eater-help/

You might also talk to your child's pediatrician to see if she has any additional suggestions specific to your son.

One thing that helped our child to eat more healthy foods was to see her friends doing the same. While camping with other families, or at their house for play dates, I noticed that she'd try new (healthy) foods that her friend's parents offered, particularly if their children gave the items praise. We also tried putting veggies in the middle of dinner rolls (which she loved both eating and helping to make), and she's also now a fan of smoothies for the same reason (they taste great and are fun to make).

I wish you well in finding the right mix of healthy eating tactics that are effective for your son!
> 60 days ago

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logankaia
logankaia writes:
I would say that you child should not get an option as to having junk food. I make sure and have healthy fruits and veggies on the table or in the fridge so that my kids can access them at any time, they self regulate.  At first I had to cut up slices of cucumber or peel their clementines in order for them to eat it, but as they were never offered an alternative it really helped.

We also sit down every night and eat a healthy dinner. My kids love rice, tofu and quinoa so I make those things regularly, but for some reason they love to eat their peas frozen, so I let them do that, whats the harm? we also have a rule that if they have a veggie they do not like they have to take as many bites as their age.  My son was super picky, if it was not white he would not eat it, through many nights of "this is what we are having and if you don't like it you don't have to eat it, but you wont get anything else either" he finally is a great eater and turns his nose at McDonalds.

Good luck, it is not an easy thing to do, but in the end it is very rewarding.
> 60 days ago

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spudmommy
spudmommy writes:
One day I skipped my child's afterschool snack and had him help me cook dinner.  He was hungry so he couldn't help but be tempted to try some of the ingredients while we were cooking (eg. canelini beans and spinach).  When dinner was set he was so proud and wasn't scared of what was in it since he had already tried it.  You'll be eating dinner really early for a while but it works great!

Don't forget fun names like rabbit food then demonstrate by eating it like a rabbit.   The more you get into acting it out the more likely he/she will eat it!
> 60 days ago

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