The Journey from Junk Food to Healthy Eating, Part 2

If your kid’s diet plan reads like the “children’s menu” at the drive-thru, don’t worry. You can get him to eat better! Just don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to make that huge change in one meal. Think little changes, over time, that add up to a long-term goal.

Start With What’s On the Menu

Change is hard especially when you are dealing with picky eaters who are used to a limited menu. Starting out, an easy win is to make healthier versions of familiar foods.

• Try a baked chicken nugget recipe at home using real chicken and natural ingredients. Serve healthier dips on the side.

• Grill up some turkey burgers with a lower fat cheese. You can even put onions or shredded carrots into the burger for added flavor and a bit of vegetable.

• Make pizza at home using a whole wheat crust, less cheese and lots of tomato sauce

• Serve baked sweet potato fries instead of the usual fries

Make Some Healthier Swaps

• Add more whole grains, gradually increasing the amount over time as your kids adjust

• Try mixing lower sugar, whole grain cereals with existing higher sugar favorites

• Serve more fresh fruit for snacks and desserts

• Look for healthier versions of familiar snack foods, gradually replacing processed snack items with better choices

• Serve regular milk instead of flavored milks, many of which have as much sugar as soda

Add Some Sure-Fire Healthy Favorites

• Introduce one new food at a time alongside familiar favorites

• Try new things together as a family, make it an adventure not a battle

• Look for recipes for vegetables that have a bit of cheese or a sweeter flavor at first since you are competing with high-sugar processed foods.

Target the Worst Foods for Gradual Reduction

• Start cutting down on servings of soda

• Teach your child to understand that candy and “junk” foods are Sometime Foods

• Eliminate using these foods as a “reward”

• Eat more meals at home, even a quick meal at home is usually healthier than the drive-thru

Thanks for joining me for this series. I hope you have found some helpful tips and thank you for sharing your own tips along the way. Happy, healthy eating!

Published on: April 29, 2011
About the Author
Photo of Beth Bader

Beth Bader is the coauthor with Ali Benjamin of the acclaimed book, The Cleaner Plate Club, designed to help parents understand picky eating behaviors; where they originate, and how to deal with them creatively to get kids to eat better.

Get Dr. Greene's Wellness RecommendationsSignup now to get Dr. Greene's healing philosophy, insight into medical trends, parenting tips, seasonal highlights, and health news delivered to your inbox every month.
No comments yet. Start the conversation!
Add your comment