As a parent, you must have struggled to say ‘No’ to your child when they ask you for junk food. Then comes the question of why! You can’t explain the kids technical information like calories and cholesterol but what you can always do it make smarter choices in their everyday food habits. Below listed are some best ways to raise your kids in a junk food-free environment:
When our children attend school, have play dates, visit family, or go on any outside outside our realm, home food rules can go by the wayside. Setting limits for our children would be ideal if they followed them, but many of our kids may not be old enough or equipped to make responsible decisions when it comes to healthy food choices. So we’re dependent on other adults who may not be on the same page as us for a variety of reasons, one of them being the “Oh, just this once will be okay” philosophy.
Unfortunately, as we all know, treats are not what they used to be. A “treat” implies that it is a special moment, but unhealthy food snacks are more the norm now, rather than a yummy food item for a special occasion like a birthday party, the last day of school or Thanksgiving.
Strategies to stop your kids from eating junk food
How can we tactfully address the issue of others doling out unhealthy treat items so we can keep our families as healthy as possible? Here are some easy strategies to get our health needs met without the awkwardness:
Use the “I’ Word
This is a great way to not put others on the defensive, and to not come across as judgmental. For example, at a play date, instead of stating, “Your snacks, are so unhealthy. Can you please give my son an apple the next time he comes over?”, you might say: “It’s been a challenge for me getting little Johnny to eat his dinner because he wants so many snacks before our meal. I’m trying to just give him fruit before dinner so he doesn’t fill up. Would you mind helping me with this when he goes to your house?” This way, we are getting our needs met but not placing the blame on anyone.
Get Family Members on Your Side
Another communication strategy is to tell family members (your brother, sister, mother, father, in-laws) that you are concerned about your child’s eating behaviors because she has been only going for the empty carbs at school and at home. “Little Janey loves your special treats you’ve been making her but would you mind helping me out and offering protein, like a cheese stick when she comes over?” This way, your family will feel like they are helping you and that you are not reprimanding them for being indulgent.
Get Involved at School
Another strategy that doesn’t even involve a confrontation is to get involved with the parents in your kids’ classes at the start of the school year. Help to organize parties, suggesting guidelines for healthy and tasty food. If one parent takes the initiative to keep the party junk at a minimum, the other parents are likely to follow suit. After all, everyone wants their kids to be healthy.
Keeping your family healthy and strong may not be a cinch, but it doesn’t have to be fraught with anxiety or stress either. You may be surprised at how the right approach, enlisting the support of your community, can make the difference. Happy snacking!
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