How do you get your kids to eat healthy food?

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If you're sending your kids back to school this fall, then chances are good that you're thinking about what they'll be eating. I know I'm thinking about it! Everyone tells you that it's hard to get kids to eat healthy food. That's a lie. For a while anyway. 

If you want your kids to eat healthy, you need to start early. Offer them plenty of fresh whole food options as soon as they begin eating and keep everything else out! Up to the age of 3, this approach works fantastic. 

This method might mean a few (or a lot!) of food fights. Not with your kids - but with other adults! Once your kids start selecting their own snacks and going to play dates or school, then you'll be battling with them.

I had a food fight just the other day. My dad asked, "your kids aren't on a diet are they?" What??!??!?!? And a fight broke out. A fight that lasted the whole night and eventually brought my husband into the disaster. 

When it comes to healthy eating, I mean business. There are a lot of things that I can let go, but not food. My dad had suggested we go out for ice cream for dinner. Not as a dessert. Just for dinner. He asked my kids and they said they didn't think it was a good idea. Hence the "DIET" question. 

No - my kids are NOT on a diet. They just don't need to eat ice cream, cookies, cakes, donuts, candies, and every other piece of garbage whenever a grandparent comes into the room. Well - apparently I'm the only one that believes in that principle. My dad brings junk every time he sees my kids. My husband's parents offer them trash every time they see them. Random ladies on the plane offer them cookies. I know they are trying to be nice, but it's not nice! Filling their veins with toxic chemicals and addicting them to sugar is not NICE. It's setting them up to fail.

Every child's game, party, playdate, school event, book club..... all include garbage food! What about moderation? Sure, it makes sense, but if you live in today's world there is no such thing as moderation. Having a treat every day is not moderation. And how many kids have just one treat a day?

Okay, so back to how to get them to eat healthy food. Like I said - START EARLY and KEEP everything else OUT! 

My kids love fresh fruit, berries, and fresh unadulterated meats and dairy. And they like some veggies. These are the things that were their mainstays for a long time. They used to eat anything they were given. But everything changed when I lost the Jello fight. Honestly, I was so exhausted raising two little babies and managing the house that when my husband started the Jello is fun debate, I lost. 

They ate Jello. Then candy, pudding, cake, cookies, ice cream, hot dogs, fruit snacks and all sorts of gunk made it's way into our home. There was no stopping it. Then one day, I said enough! It has been a long battle over the last 2 years to get my family back to a healthy eating schedule.

Now my children are in school and every day my son comes home to tell me what other kids had for snacks and lunches. Why can't he have fruit snacks? Why can't he have fruit roll ups, cheetos, pudding packs, lunchables, and on and on. I tell him he can't because I love him. I care about what he's building his body with.

I want him to have a strong body and a healthy brain. I've said it so many times, I doubt he listens anymore. But they know how I feel. They are kids, so they will instinctively (or impulsively) choose the most sugar-loaded option. But I tell them why we eat certain foods. I tell them what is wrong with some of the treats that are available. I don't hide fruits, vegetables, or meat. I tell them what is in their food and I hope that someday they will learn to love them.

And most of all - I don't buy the junk they can't resist. Out of sight - out of mind. It works. As long as it's not in our house and as long as other adults aren't offering them garbage, my kids will eat healthy foods. 

Sometimes they eat junk and sometimes I have no control over it.

When Grandpa comes over with a big bag of donuts, I grit my teeth and make a decision. Will I let it go, or will I blow up and throw a fit? Big G - your odds are 50/50! I'm just saying!

Anyone else have any tips to help kids eat healthier? I'd love to hear your tips and your stories.

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