We have a blended family with 3 other sets of parents influencing our kids so it is VERY difficult to get them to make healthy choices. We can only model good behavior and control what happens at our house. Here are some of the things we do to encourage healthy eating habits.
1.)First we eat ALL meals together. If you are home at meal time you will be at the table with the family. This also gives us time with the kids.
2.) If you are eating or drinking, you MUST be at the table. This cuts down on snacking (and crumbs)
3.) Snacks are fresh fruit, vegetables with ranch (hey at least they are eating vegetables).
4.) we generally do not purchase junk food. Cookies, candy, chips and soda are very special treats. We do not attempt to control what our kids eat when away from home, but we find they are choosing juice instead of water or limiting sweet intake on their own.
5.) If you put a bowl of baby carrots and ranch dressing on the table, the kids will snack on it.
6.) our kids have reusable water bottles that they keep filled with our filtered water.
7.) I divide the snacks ( baked goldfish, pretzels, baby carrots, animal crackers) into snack bags so we can grab and go.
We firmly believe that our children will not starve if they miss a snack or a meal. We cook nutritious tasty meals and our children have the choice to eat or not. When they were younger we tried making a sandwich or something for the ones that didn't want the main meal. I very quickly felt like a short order cook and after consulting with the pediatrician decided that if they didn't like dinner, they better hope they like breakfast.
There are many benefits to phasing out junk food, our kids are healthier, less mom guilt, our grocery bill is considerably smaller, and so are my pants.
AND WE DON"T EVEN MISS IT!