Junk food: 10 strategies to convince a child or young person to eat more correctly

First rule: set a good example; second: do not buy certain foods; third: do not present too many alternatives at the table. These are some of the strategies to get our children back to a more correct and genuine diet.

1. Be an example

Children who eat healthier are those who have been accustomed to eating healthier. If we are the first to dine on fizzy and sugary drinks, we cannot become supporters of 'certain drinks are bad and you have to drink only water '. The saying 'you preach well and you scratch evil' would immediately backfire.

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2. Don't fill your pantry with junk food

Junk food must be present in the home for it to be consumed. It is true that our children do not only eat at home and, especially when they get older and go out with friends for the first time, it is difficult for them to say no when everyone is buying chips. It is also true, however, that they do not go out with friends every day and their habits are mainly set at home: if they open the kitchen pantry and find the embarrassment of choosing between unhealthy snacks, how can we expect them to close it again, maybe exclaiming 'yuck, I don't like it '? Rather, let's fill the fridge with yoghurt of all tastes or other healthy snacks: after having turned up the nose with a: 'in this fridge there is nothing!', they will search better and eventually find what they like. Once the course is reversed and the good habit established, the most is done.

Read also: 9 answers to the most common doubts about children's nutrition

3. Do not circulate food on the sofa at home

Children often have the habit of eating while watching TV or tablet. It is a wrong habit because, taken from the video, they do not even realize what they are eating and tend to consume certain foods not as a choice but as a pastime associated with a habit: a combination that, once created, is not possible to break so easily.

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And then there is another aspect to consider: between TV and the internet, our children absorb many advertising messages and eating styles, often proposed by popular youtubers that exert a lot of appeal: one more reason to monitor what children watch when they are in front of tablets or smartphones and are ready to act as a filter.

Read also: 10 rules on the use of the tablet by children

4. Resist the temptation of practical and comfortable mixes

Let's face it: very often certain industrial solutions suit us. Rather than going crazy to make a healthy and balanced snack with our hands, with the tight time we have every day it is all the more convenient for us to offer them certain 'combined ' snacks which, according to what the advertisements say, offer the right mix. from


A possible alternative is to prepare something on the weekend and, if necessary, freeze it and then defrost individual pieces during the week. Of course, it is more laborious, but once they have identified easy recipes that they like, the satisfaction will repay us for the effort

Read also: 8 perfect snacks for children, super-easy and low in calories

5. Ask for the cooperation of the school

There are many schools that are joining projects, often even ministerial ones, to bring healthier snacks to the stalls. Sometimes it is the same school that provides fruit (such as the "Fruit in schools " project), other times the school establishes a sort of calendar that requires all pupils to have the same type of snack on certain days. Collective membership is essential so that the child does not feel 'less ' to bring a healthy snack while the classmate tastes a fried donut!

Read also: Snacks to take to school and to the office: healthy and practical ideas

6. At the table we don't offer a thousand choices

If for today we have foreseen legumes, let's make them more appetizing by making them in salads with cherry tomatoes and corn, in meatballs (to be done in more abundant quantities and put in the freezer for the 'lean ' periods) or in velvety: but if legumes we have foreseen , legumes are eaten. Without asking the child: 'do you want legumes or I'll make you


'? It 'sa dead end in which we slip by ourselves, because no child will answer us ' don't worry, mom, I eat legumes '. He says he's not hungry? Let's answer him with candor that it can happen and he will eat at the next meal. But let us ensure that in the meantime he does not compensate his appetite with junk of all kinds!

Read also: Children who eat healthy are even happier

7. We vary in the proposal

Some children say they don't like vegetables, but maybe it's a certain type of vegetable they don't like. Let's try to vary the proposal and to satisfy their tastes: if it is not for artichokes, zucchini or carrots will be welcome. Likewise, we're not repetitive: it's okay that he told us he likes pumpkin, but we don't let him find it on his plate every day!

Read also: The strategies for making children love and eat vegetables

8. Not always, but one-off yes

Junk foods will hurt, but they are so tasty! And it would really be torture for the child not to eat them 'never again ', especially since certain foods are so to speak an integral part of certain contexts. If every day we would never dream of making him have a snack with a bag of popcorn, when he goes to the cinema with his friends we cannot forbid him: it would be useless cruelty. The important thing is that it is clear that this is an exception, to be reserved for special situations.

9. When they are older, we take advantage of science!

When they get older and start studying the nutritional elements and properties of food at school, we can involve them in the choice of shopping and reading the labels: being protagonists of the decision will make them more aware of why we place bans on certain drinks or foods.

Read also: If a food is good for you, it can't be good too: children think so

10. Let's cook together

Let's prepare a dessert together, let them create a colorful dish with vegetables or skewer skewers based on seasonal fruit and garden products, let's invent healthier pasta condiments: they will feel 'great ' to finally be involved in cooks like the grown-ups. And at the table they will be very proud to present their creations and enjoy them together with the other family members.

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