My youngest son is very open to the changes but my daughter is a much different story. Her favorite foods are Kraft Mac n Cheese and Top Ramen. Of course two of the worse foods for you. Plus she hates veggies (cooked or raw).
She seems to complain about every meal I make, especially the dinner meals. She usually ends up eating something different than what we eat. I don't force her to eat anything but I always make her a plate and give it to her and include some of everything we are eating. For example, she usually eats meat fine but won't do veggies at all but I still put them on her plate. I have heard and I believe it was from Dr. Oz on Oprah, that you should never force a child to eat something they think they don't like, but you should always expose them to it. It takes up to 10 exposures to an unliked food for a child to take a liking to it. Well I have to agree with this theory as after several exposures to cauliflower, my daughter will now eat it. Which is pretty amazing because she wanted nothing to do with it the first time I gave it to her. So we will continue with this practice. I only put a small amount on her plate as to not be wasteful but enough to give her exposure to it.
I am also trying to make changes to the foods they do like by picking better options. This is one of the reasons why I love the book: "Eat This, Not That" Kids Edition by: David Zinczenko. They give you the best options over products my kids already like. For example, Spaghetti O's original are better than Kraft mac n cheese, Kashi frozen pizza is better than DiGiono frozen pizza, and Eggo Nutri Gran low-fat waffles are better than Nutri Grain whole wheat waffles. The book is a wealth of information. Now I know these foods aren't the "best" options for them but if I can pick the "better" of the bunch to feed them while we transition them into this new healthier lifestyle, than I am all for it.
Another change I have done is to use ground turkey in place of ground beef in things like spaghetti and sloppy joes. They don't even notice the change. I have heard there are recipes out there with "hidden" veggies in them as well and I may try some of those. We also eat as much organic, natural food as possible. All their cereal, milk, eggs, meat, etc. are all organic now.
So it's a work in progress. They didn't learn bad eating habits overnight so I know the changes won't happen overnight but hopefully by starting when they are still young, they will be able to take a healthy lifestyle into their adulthood.
I would love to hear what others are doing to get their children to eat better. Please post a comment and let us know!
Here's to a healthier you,