Don't Roll your eyes at my son. How to get kids to eat healthily.

Don't Roll your eyes at my son. How to get kids to eat healthily.

My 6 yr old son Sky has gotten the eye roll a few times, and as a mom, that can be very upsetting. It's even more upsetting perhaps for you too, when I tell you that the eye rolls he gets are from other moms.

Sky will be 7 in September and has never had a chicken nugget, a french fry, a real meat burger, or even a … Are you ready for this one? ...a lollipop! Yes, he has never had a piece of hard candy his whole life.
So, I bet you can guess that this kid has never had Mc Donalds, Wendys, Popeyes, KFC, or the all-mighty Chik A Filet.
To crown all of this, and this is where most of the eye rolls come in, Sky is the kid that will ask about the ingredients of a food item before he puts it in his mouth. Yup, he is only 6, and he reads his labels (mind you he is now going to first grade, so his reading is not excellent) Sky is also the kid that's said "No, thank you" even in preschool when the teacher distributed candy, juice, or any snack he wasn't familiar with. It amazed me that he didn't mind being the only kid drinking water, not having a snack, or eating something different.

I am not saying any of this deem myself a better mom or to send other moms on a guilt trip but rather to inspire moms who have the desire to have their kids eat more healthy foods. I hope that by sharing my son and I's story and sharing how I do it, other moms will know that it is possible and will be able to take some of my pointers and use it to their advantage.

At first, it made me mad and upset to see other moms get an attitude because my son made healthier food choices than their kids did, but I woke up to the fact that the problem was them and not my son or me.
I have also met moms who walked up to me and said how wonderful it was that I had taught my son to make healthy choices. Usually, after hearing a conversation between him and I perhaps of him expressing his love for fruits and veggies or his need to know how much sugar or salt was in a snack before eating it.

One day at another kid from his school's birthday party, his classmate's mom walked up to us and told us that her son, Sky's classmate in kindergarten, always talked about Sky at home. And what did he say? "Mom, you will love Sky; he eats a lot of veggies like you want me to."
So we all laughed, but before she walked away, she asked me, "seriously, how do you do it?"

I try not "teach" other moms unless they ask, but I have had many moms ask on my Instagram, especially when I post about Sky and his eating habits. So, I shared some of my tips 2 yrs ago, and the response told me that I needed to share more.

Here it goes, these are things that have worked for me and some of my friends that I have shared with, we have to bear in mind that every child is different and you may need to teach that child based on their personality.

Tip #1 - Start them early.
This does not mean if your child is 8 or 9, then it is too late. My 11 yr old nephew moved in with us and has picked up many new eating habits, perhaps it was easier with him because he didn't have a horrible diet, to begin with, but I believe that any child can be taught new habits.

So for an older kid, my tip is to have an honest conversation with them, most kids have more understanding than we perceive them to have. Something to the effect of "Hey Caleb, there is something I want us to talk about. When it comes to our food choices, I think we can do better to improve our health, energy levels, performance in sports, etc. So we are going to work on switching the unhealthy foods once, what do you think?" The conversation doesn't have to be those exact words, but a similar format. Recognizing where you've gone wrong, the benefits of fixing the problem, and involving the child in decision-making by asking them questions.

If you can start them very young like I did, all you have to do is to ONLY introduce the healthy foods you want them to be familiar with. That means if you want them to like broccoli and bananas when they are 6, give them broccoli and bananas when they start with their first foods. You cannot expect to feed them with french fries and when they 6 not like french fries anymore. Like everything else, they will not know what you don't teach them. Which leads to my 2nd tip.

Tip #2 - Understand that it is your responsibility.
Someone once said to me, "all my daughter wants to eat every day is Mac Donalds," and so I asked her, who gave your daughter her first mac Donalds? Her second? Her 3rd? And the answer was "Me" to all the questions. Again, I will never judge any mom in what they choose to feed their kids, as moms, it is our God-given responsibility to do what is best for our children until they can make their own decisions. We hope that the foundation we've laid AKA what we've taught them at home will take precedent.

To fulfill our responsibility in this area of teaching them how to make healthy choices, we must first educate ourselves and then train them. In my case, I have never told my boys (My son Sky & my nephew Caleb) That you can never eat something; instead, I tell them you can eat anything you want, as long as you know what's in it, and what the effects of those ingredients on your body. So educating your kids about making healthy food choices does not mean inducing fear but rather the benefits of eating well.

It can be quite fun with younger kids when you use colors to teach them the effects of food on the body. For example, orange foods give you good vision, and green foods make you strong. I literally showed my son clips of Popeye the sailor eating spinach, and gaining his muscles. And him being a boy who thinks he is a superhero, it worked like magic.
If you have girls who like girlie things, tell them how sweet potatoes will let their skin glow, and avocados will make their hair grow, and so on and so forth.

Tip #3 - Be committed to being prepared.
I am very conscious about being judgmental towards other moms because I know firsthand how challenging it is to be a parent, especially the mom. However, it gets difficult for me when I see moms who spend hours watching TV or talking on the phone and say they have no time to cook a home-cooked meal. They resort to buying fast food more often than they really want to.

So, if you don't remember anything from this piece, I want you to remember this: You can not eat what you don't have at home, or what you don't go out to buy. What does this mean? It means that to make healthy choices, it has to start from your grocery shopping.
Clear all the unhealthy foods out of your pantry, then make a list of the healthy ones you and your family like already, and a few new ones you want to try.

A tip here that worked for me is either going shopping with everyone to pick what they want to eat during the week or having them add to the grocery list what they would like. The chances of them eating that food item become higher.

Having your healthy foods at home ready to go will prevent the wrong choices when hunger strikes. And being prepared means you can bring your snack or lunch with you when stepping out. That way, the temptation of buying foods you don't want to eat is minimized.

Finally, preparation also means preparing for the unexpected. For example, if you made a lovely Home-cooked dinner and accidentally spilled it all to the ground, or your youngest child spilled all of theirs, and there was no more left. What will you do? Call and order pizza? You don't have to do that if you are stacked up on some healthy frozen meals.

For someone who cooks dinner for my family almost every night, I can tell you that my recent discovery of storing healthy frozen meals from Trader Joes has been a significant relief. Just make sure you choose ones that are lower in sodium.

As stated above, the earlier you get the kids started, the easier it will be for them to continue making healthy choices. Taking responsibility for what they learn about healthy eating makes you realize that the decision is in your hands and not theirs, it also encourages you to learn more. And we all know knowledge is power. Stay committed to the goal by buying the right foods and getting rid of the foods that don't serve you and your loved ones.


  • 06 Jul 2020 Sierra Lewis

    I hate that people are rolling their eyes at your son and his/your choices. That does not concern them! You’re doing a great job because training kids is HARD

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