One of the struggles of being a mom is making sure your kids eat right. We are what we eat, and food—especially brain food—is an important factor on what kind of a late-teen and adult they will be.
I spend a lot of time every week answering questions from incredible women, and often they don’t come to me until they are at their wits end, pulling their hair out from the frustration that comes with getting their kids to eat healthy. They usually go something like this: “Help! I can’t get my son/daughter to eat healthy no matter what I do, I feel like I’ve tried everything! What can I do to get them to eat healthier?”
With a teenage daughter myself, I know first-hand just how difficult it can be to get your kids “with the program” and eating healthy. In all of my books, especially Healing ADD, I spend a lot of time addressing kid issues. The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook, also has LOTS of kid info along with kid favorite recipes. Here are a few things that worked for me:
It’s a Process:
- They won’t starve if you don’t give them garbage. Keep lots of delicious healthy food around. Eventually they will eat.
- Be sure you’re creating healthy versions of their favorite recipes.
- Work on the worst culprits first- sugar and fried/ processed stuff, the veggies can wait. That will happen eventually. For now get the poison out. Then you can add the good stuff.
- Make it fun! Go on a grocery-store scavenger hunt. Try letting your child have a DELICIOUS, healthy snack while you are shopping for good food. Make positive connections. I did this with my daughter and that is still one of her favorite things to do.
- Start making healthy desserts first. Show then eating healthy isn’t a drag. Most kids tend to think that if it’s healthy, it tastes bad, but we both know that couldn’t be further from truth! Try these super simple (and delicious) frozen bananas to start.
- Have them help you in the kitchen, and make it fun. Don’t make it about rules and being super clean. Make a mess, laugh and clean up later.
- Negotiate with your child. Allow them to make one food choice that isn’t mom approved, but only if she chooses protein or veggies to go with it. No soda under any circumstances. It’s poison. Don’t be the food police or they will intentionally do what you DON’T want them to do. Believe me, I made that mistake early on.
Don’t give up hope. My daughter pushed back pretty hard for a while, complained that we never had “normal” food at home and taunted me with junk, like colorful cupcakes and sugary drinks, when we were out. I remained committed to my values and my mission; I remembered how bad that junk made me feel, and was sure to remind her of that when she came to me 20 minutes later complaining about a stomach ache. Remember, your kids will end up a lot more like you than even they want to be, and if she sees that I feel so much better eating healthy, my hope is she’ll want to feel better too! I didn’t harass her (much), and remained the example in my home. Now at 13 years old, she eats healthier than ANY of her friends, and even most adults. She is wiser than I was in my 30’s- and it’s because SHE is choosing it, not because I’m shoving it down her throat.