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If bad eating habits reign, they can be hard to change especially when they've become comfortable routines. But by keeping unhealthy foods out of your home, and bringing healthy foods in, it's possible to promote better eating habits, even with the pickiest kids.
Whether you're trying to cajole your toddler to give peas a chance, or attempting to persuade your tween into drinking something other than soda, these healthy eating tips might be worth a try.
Don't Ban Junk Food OutrightSlide 2 of 21
Don't Ban Junk Food Outright
Once kids get their first taste of crunchy, sweet or salty foods, it's hard to get them unhooked, according to pediatric psychologist Eileen Kennedy, of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Still, she recommended that parents limit the number of treats that kids are allowed to eat each day, rather than ban these foods completely. That way, kids won't be as tempted to want what they can't have.
Banning a specific food is also a bad idea because if the food becomes available to your child outside your home, he or she might eat it despite feeling full, Kennedy said. This can lead to a habit of overeating.
Parents should also avoid restricting desserts or other treats as punishment for bad behavior, because this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, she said.Slide 3 of 21
Encourage Them to Eat Smart at SchoolSlide 4 of 21
Encourage Them to Eat Smart at School
Look over your child's school lunch options many schools provide a printout of each month's lunch menu, Kennedy said. Go over each day's meal choices with your child, and challenge him or her to identify the healthiest option.
That way, your child will be aware of all the selections they have to choose from, and will gain experience in making nutritious food decisions.
As for snacks, rather than giving your kids money for the vending machines at school , make it clear to them that they can instead save their soda or candy money and spend it on nonfood items. To encourage them to not blow their pocket change on sugary or salty treats, give them plenty of healthy snacks, such as apples, to bring to school, Kennedy recommended.Slide 5 of 21
Avoid Buying Unhealthy Foods in BulkSlide 6 of 21
Avoid Buying Unhealthy Foods in Bulk
If you want to buy a treat, buy the smallest possible package of that food, instead of the economy bulk-sized packages, Kennedy said.
For example, buying a bulk pack of small, single-serving bags of cheesy popcorn is better than buying one massive, bulk-size bag of the popcorn.
And store any bulk-size snack foods out of kids' sight and reach , Kennedy said, so that they will be less tempted to mindlessly graze on it throughout the day.Slide 7 of 21
Warn Kids About Drinking CaloriesSlide 8 of 21