Perhaps the person who wrote about the Banana Split Cake isn't the ideal source for talking about how to get kids to trade in their hot dogs, French fries, and chicken fingers for more nutritious food. But I did find these great tips for getting kids to stop eating junk food (and I promise I only had a tiny piece of that cake!).
The following tips for breaking your kids' junk food habit come from the Chicago Tribune's Parent 'Hood section:
- Change begins at home. Announce to your family that all together, you will begin to eat nutritious meals instead of junk food. Set a date to begin, and stick to it.
- Ask your kids to "design their own menu" as part of the new meal plan. Help them to make a list of all the foods they would like to eat for dinner. Make sure each dinner has a balance of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, etc. If kids have a hand in suggesting or even preparing the food, they may be more willing to eat it.
- Insist that dinner is the time to eat what you have prepared (ideally, the kid-designed meals above.) Do not permit other seatings or menu options. It's amazing what a kid will eat if he/she is hungry enough.
- Make sure snacks are nutritious, too, but still fun—fruit on skewers with dip, finger food, etc.
- Lead by example. Kids will copy their parents' behavior, so if you want them to start eating better, you might have to do it yourself.
How do you get your kids to lay off the junk food?