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Role Models for Healthy Habits

Janel F.
Registered Dietitian
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Are you looking for ways to encourage healthy eating habits for your children? Ask Registered Dietitian, Janel F. how you can show your kids how to make healthy choices.

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Unwilling two year old


Help. My 2.5 year old daughter literally won't eat anything that we eat for meals. We offer her good food with each meal but she won't eat a bite and then screams for snacks like apple sauce pouches, goldfish and ice cream. We don't even give her that stuff often but some days it seems like that all she will agree to eat. We don't know what to do with her! She won't try any of the healthy food we have at meals. She's a weird kid. She won't even eat pizza or mac n cheese or nuggets. -desperate mom


Hi Maria,

It’s great you’re offering her good food at each meal! Are you eating meals with her? Are you eating the same foods you’re offering her at mealtime? This is so beneficial as it is positive role modeling on what healthy eating and mealtime behaviors look like. It is important to provide regular and scheduled meals and snacks so she’s not grazing or filling up between meals. In fact, if she’s never eating at mealtime, you may even consider dropping snacks so that she’s hungry and more willing to eat at mealtime what is provided, with no strings attached, and no bribing or coaxing her to eat anything. If she doesn’t want to eat what you serve, that’s ok! But you need to remind her that is what is for dinner and she can choose not to eat and wait until the next meal. If there are any foods she will eat, like buttered bread or plain pasta, try and include these foods in the meals you provide so that there is something preferred and familiar that she will be more willing to try. Giving in to any food outside of what you have prepared for a meal (whether it be applesauce or goldfish) teaches her that she can ultimately get what she wants with enough screaming! I highly recommend the book Child of Mine by Ellen Satter (or at least checking out her website) for feeding tips on the division of responsibility, which states:
The parent decides the what, where and when of food. The child decides how much they eat and whether they eat at all. If you find she has trouble with certain textures of foods or extreme pickiness or sensory issues, you may consider working with a feeding therapist as well.


Hi Janel,
That is very helpful advice. We will try it! I suspect the snacks are definitely the culprit here. Thank you!!!