Friday, October 8, 2010

Don't Force Kids to Eat, But Don't Let Them Complain

By Julia Moravcsik, PhD, author of Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food

In order to teach children to like healthy food, you'll need to feed them foods that are new, and foods that require many exposures to like.  As a result, your children will probably not like all the meals you cook.  They may not like a meal because the food is new.  Or they won't like it because it's a food that requires many exposures to like, like vegetables.

It's ok for your child not to like a food.  It's ok for your child to not eat a food.  But don't let your child complain about a food.  Complaining is not ok for several reasons.  First of all, it saps your morale.  As a parent dedicated to teaching your child to like healthy food, you put in time and effort cooking healthy, home-cooked meals, made with real ingredients.  It's demoralizing to have your child complain when you've worked so hard.  Second, if one child complains, it influences the other children.  It's difficult for even an adult to enjoy a dish when someone is saying how yucky it tastes.

So, implement these rules.  First, your children can eat or not eat a dish.  Don't make them eat something they don't like (although you can suggest that they try it).  Second, your children cannot complain about a dish.  If they don't want to eat it, they can eat the other dishes on the plate.

Would you like a simple, easy-to-follow program that will teach your child to love healthy food? See my new book Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food on