Encouraging Kids to Make Healthy Food Choices

JOPLIN, MO-- Steering kids away from cookies and ice cream isn't always the easiest challenge. But there are a few options to help them make the healthy choices.

"When you ban junk food altogether at home, it tempts the child even more to want those things. So when they're out of the house, out of the home, they're more likely to indulge in those types of sugary sweets, sugary beverages." Instead, Freeman Dietitian Meghan Waggoner recommends allowing sweets in moderation and coaching your kids on portion control.

She adds you should steer clear of banning food as a punishment. "It shows that child that those foods are they taste better so naturally they're going to want those foods if you take them away. The same goes for rewarding kids with food. If you give a cookie, they're going to want those foods more."

Waggoner says it's a good idea to let kids help choose the fruits and vegetables for your next meal. "Involving the child in the preparation of the meal, helping prep that vegetable, letting them name it after them. It's Jackie's dish or Joey's fruit salad. Those will help them have more ownership."

And check their school lunch menu ahead of time. Waggoner said, when they're not likely to eat what's listed, it's a good idea to give them another option. "Pack their lunch, let them pack their lunch."

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