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what or how can I encouragae my 4 year old to eat more healthy?

He just wants to eat junk food and refuses to eat what's healthy. I have a very difficult time geeting him to eat properly.

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:25 AM on Feb. 28, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (20)
  • I think the first thing to do is to make sure that only healthy options are available. If it's not around he can't eat it. The second thing to do is to model the behaviour yourself. Tell him that Mommy is eating healthy and offer to share.

    Offer him choices, let him pick the thing he's going to eat but make sure all the choices are healthy.

    Make it fun. Make faces out of salad. Use yogurt as a dip for fruit.

    Hope that helps. :)

    Answer by Myantek at 10:33 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • I call this the air-o-tarian phase. They all go through it. First, make sure that he is drinking water, so he doesn't get dehydrated.
    Most important, do not create a monster who only eats nuggets, mac and cheese and hot dogs.
    Just keep offering a variety of healthy foods, and eventually he will start eating.
    Frozen foods are fun to play with, and will get eaten, like peas, blueberries and corn. Chunks of avocado and tofu are loaded with great nutrition, and are fun to squish between little fingers.
    I have never met a toddler who wouldn't eat hummus (lots of calcium, protein, good fats and iron), you can mix it with a mashed egg.
    Offer cut fruits with yogurt dip, fresh veggies with hummus or salad dressing, cooked whole wheat pasta and veggies with marinara or peanut sauce or cheese sauce.


    Answer by rkoloms at 10:51 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • We use the 3 bite rule. You must try 3 bites of what is on your plate; if you don't like it, you fix yourself peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast with a kiwi or apple. Even my husband is expected to follow the rule.
    If you cave now, you will forever have a picky monster on your hands. I promise that your child will not starve. Parents who cave are part of the reason why one half of American children are both undernourished and overweight. One third of children born in this century will develop type 2 diabetes.
    Keep offering a variety of healthy foods; stop buying junk foods until the picky phase has passed. Make sure that you are setting a great example by eating a variety of healthy foods.

    Answer by rkoloms at 10:51 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • Kids eat what you give them. It's not like he's fixing/buying the junk himself

    you put healthy food and his plate. If he's hungry, he'll eat it. You don't give in to the temper tantrums and feed him junk. You just keep offering the healthy food until he eats it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:16 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • Dont' buy any junk food. He'll eventually get hungry and realize there's only one option. He might give up a fit, but if he's hungry he'll give in. There are healthy alternatives to junk food that are just as sweet too. Like Peanuts for example. Research fun and tasty healthy foods that might interest him more.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 11:16 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • You're the one who provides food for your child, so provide the healthy foods your child should have. It helps for your children to see you eating that kind of food, too. If our kids don't want to eat what we're eating, they get a bowl of plain oatmeal. We are not cooking 2 or 3 different meals to cater to the whims of children. We tried doing that with the oldest and the requests got more and more ridiculous (cut the crust off my sandwich, only a certain kind of jelly, apples had to be cut a certain way, cut the crunchy ends off baked foods, etc). We finally told her she eats what we eat or she goes hungry. She now loves to eat things like squash, broccoli, multi-vegetable soup, whole apples, mango, and more.

    Answer by yogapantz at 11:20 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • Stop enabling him - You are the one who feeds him (or should be), so why are you allowing him junk food?

    My kid eats whatever I give him, because he's not getting anything else.


    Answer by Anonymous at 11:47 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • Ya know kids love sauces. They will dip veggies and fruit into anything. My husband wanted our kids to eat his steak and veggies one night so he went into the fridge and let them dip into ketchup, honey mustard, A1, and guess what else....chocolate sauce!!! lol I guess it became dessert! Have fun too. Buy him an apron and some kid kitchen sets. You can bake a carrot cake with applesauce instead of oil and sprinkle some Splenda icing on it. Once he gets hooked, you will have a great time with wishes.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 11:50 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • BTW....I cooked tofu parmesean for the first time last night. My 3 yr old loved dipping the egg and bread coatings. He ate 2 tofu squares and he loves to put parmesean cheese on it

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 11:51 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • Don't buy junk, don't cook junk. Buy only good healthy foods, make only good healthy foods, and he won't have any choice! He only wants to eat junk because it's there - because you bring it into the house. Stop buying it, and he'll stop eating it!

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:52 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

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