When children get older they learn quickly from the world
around them that there are foods that are quite different and,
may seem more appealing than what they are used to getting. They
start shunning vegetables and craving for junk food. It's not a
good idea to force healthy foods on children. Rather start
slowly and gradually substitute with appealing alternatives.
Kids need to be able to indulge now and then in sweets, but a
well nourished child does not crave sweets. Try not to label a
food "good" or "bad." This can create guilt and shame around
wanting unhealthy foods, causing cravings and food addictions. A
better way may be to call foods such as broccoli or whole-grains
"everyday" foods and cake and cookies "sometimes" foods. If
children are made to "clean their plate" or are bribed with
desert, they may feel that healthy eating is a chore. Some
parents even serve a healthy desert with the meal so all foods
have the same emotional appeal.
Eating should be fun and rewarding. It's the parents job to
provide wholesome, nutritious foods and the kids' job to decide
how much they want to eat. Kids will eat as much as they need.
They will not let themselves go hungry. Meals should be
relaxing, fun and pleasant. Nagging children to eat what you
want them to does not work.