Almost 6Year Old Only Eating Junk Food

Updated on July 10, 2009
S.L. asks from Fort Atkinson, WI
23 answers

I have a daughter that is almost 6 and she don't want to eat meat,pototos,and vegs.
she only wants to eat chips,poptarts,cheese and crakers.
She is in summer school now and does go to school last year and when I would send her lunch to school she would eat it but, now she is home during the day and she just wants to eat junk food and don't eat supper, only wants junk food.
When i dont buy it she dont eat nothing.
Please help what do i do????? or try

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Des Moines on

If there is no junk food in the house to eat, she will eventually have to eat nutritious food. She might resist for awhile, but she will eat. She just knows that you will give in if she holds out, and she wins the fight. Save her from herself, and be in charge. Her tastes will change, but this does take time, and there is probably a food addiction at work here also. Best to break it at 6 :)



answers from Sioux Falls on

Keep offering her healthy food for meals. She will eat when she gets hungry enough.
You could also make a deal w/ her, that if she eats her healthy meals, then at snack time, she can have 1 small treat. The snack should not be a meal size. (we usually have snack at 3:00)
But ONLY if she eats a good lunch. If she doesn't eat a good lunch, then her lunch will be her snack and no treats.

More Answers



answers from Madison on

I do agree with the mom who asked if your daughter perhaps has a sensory issue. My daughter, now 9 years old, has Sensory Processing Disorder and, until I started getting help for her (outside OT/PT besides just school; a pediatric wellness & fitness clinic; a childhood specialist) she also was (and still is, to a certain extent; it's very hard to break) a junk food addict.

She's addicted to the sugar. I have managed to get her onto fruit; vegetables are harder. We've managed to get her to eat real food for meals, but she's very limited in what she will eat; has to do with taste and texture. (She does like protein, so there are certain meats she'll eat.) She is getting braver, though, and will try something new, but we don't push her. As long as she's not eating a junk food main meal, we've been happy with the overall process. But, it's a process and one that will continue for some time. She still eats too much sugar, to my way of thinking, but we're working on it.

But it's a long, hard struggle. I do the grocery shopping, mainly because I have food allergies and intolerances and need to shop at natural food stores (as my husband says, Whole Foods equals Whole Paycheck). Because I do the shopping, we have dramatically cut down on what comes into the household, and that includes junk food. There are healthier alternatives out there.

Sugar is very, very addicting. There is actually a withdrawal when people quit eating sugar--and that includes pop and sugared drinks. And you need to watch that you're not substiting fruit juice for pop/sugared drinks. It's okay when first starting to withdraw, but you don't want to remain drinking much fruit juice. There isn't as much nutritional value in fruit juice, like there is in the whole fruit (say, grape juice vs grapes), but there are lots of calories. Ultimately, the drink you want to consume the most of is water. Plain, pure water is what your body is craving. Most people are (severely) dehydrated and don't know it. And dehydration also affects the body in multiple ways.

The best thing I ever did for my daughter (and myself) was taking her to an Integration Doctor (that's a doctor who has a MD but also has training in natureopathic medicine). The Integration Doctor tested my daughter for heavy metals (positive) and nutrient elements, where we discovered she has malabsorption and is currently on suppplements to help make up for deficiencies.

We have noticed a world of difference in my daughter, now that she has the nutrients and vitamins and enzymes her body needs to function properly. I've also noticed my daughter craves sweets more when she hasn't been sensory engaged enough that day. So, yes, sensory issues would be a good place for you to start with your daughter. Just don't be surprised if your conventional doctor pooh-poohs you and doesn't take you seriously. That's why we also go to an Integration Doctor. (Incidentally, my daughter's SPD was discovered by me--I have a friend whose child has it, and it sounded like my daughter, so I did some research)--and was confirmed by her Childhood Specialist, so the "diagnosis" didn't come from a Peditrician or other doctor but rather from the childhood psychiatrist she sees.)

I wish you and your daughter (and your whole family, as it's a behavior modification and better eating habits thing) all the best of luck.



answers from Rapid City on

Who is in control? If you buy anything like that use it as a leverage to eat the good food. If you don't eat your dinner, there will not be anything after. Don't buy the poptarts or things that she would have instead of ceral. Limit her sweets to after she eats good food rather then instead of it. Make sure she has a multi vitamin every day.



answers from Minneapolis on

cut out the junk food...either quit buying it or put it hi up in the cabnets...tell her no-shell throw a fit-but shell get hungry enuff an start eating correctly again.



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't buy junk food. Don't eat it yourself. Don't let your husband/siblings/guests eat it in front of her. Insist that summer school doesn't feed junk food to anyone. PERIOD. STICK TO YOUR GUNS.

Sound hard? If the family's been eating junk for a long time, her body's chemistry is "off." She is probably nutritionally deficient and needs supplements. Once the chemsitry is straightened out, junk food won't be so appealing. REALLY! Check into the Nutritional Weight and Wellness Clinic or listen to their radio shows on Sat. mornings 8-9 am on FM 107.1. (No, I'm not an advertiser, just a regular mom.)

This will take long-term commitment. My niece (also age 6) and her family are going through the same challenge. TOUGH LOVE, SISTER!

P.S. DON'T BUY OR DRINK POP/JUICE/GATORADE (even diet). It keeps you addicted to sugar. And it costs too much money!



answers from Wausau on

Hi, S..
My mom is a dietician, so I'll try to answer this the way she would.

1. Cheese and crackers is actually a healthy snack. She is getting calcium from the cheese, and the crackers could be healthy depending on what kind you buy. Look for crackers that are similar to what you already buy, but that are made with whole grains and/or have at least 2 grams of fiber listed on the food label.

2. Meat- will she eat peanut butter sandwiches, or snacks with peanut butter as a main ingredient? Peanut butter and other nuts are a good source of protein. You can buy trail mix that includes peanuts and other nuts. Since it will also have m'n'ms in it, it seems like junk d=food, but it's mostly pretty healthy. Especially if you get one with raisins or other dried fruits.

3. Potatoes are a starch or carb food. So if she is getting healthy carbs with the crackers I mentioned above, not specifically eating potatoes is not a big deal. (But try potatoes baked, with sour cream, onions or chives, shredded cheese and bacon bits, plus steamed broccoli. Kids seem to like those.)

4. A healthy meal that would cover carbs and meats would be hotdogs on whole wheat buns and corn on the cob (which is a starch/vege).

5. Try roasting veges on the grill with olive oil for a delicious tasting and fun way to eat veges. Use shish-kabob skewers to make it more fun.

6. You can use skewers to put cubed and small fruits on too.

7. Parfaits are like a dessert but still very healthy. Lowfat, low-sugar yogurt with fruits and a touch of granola. Add a couple of vanilla wafers on the side and it'll be like a dessert.

8. chips- try the new versions of baked chips that lots of chip and cracker companies are coming out with. They are very tasty. Look in the cracker aisle to find them. If you are going to buy chips, stick with tortilla chips and look for low sodium and low calorie chips otherwise. Encourage melted cheese on chips (not the nacho cheese, but real cheese you shred).

9. Cereal- try the compromise-type cereals. Shredded wheat, but only the frosted kind, for example. Milks can be chocolate milk or strawberry milk to make them more enticing.

10.. With some creativity, you can make healthy food seem like junk food. And if you don't buy junk- I know you say she won't eat, but if you stick with it long enough, she will start eating more healthfully, at least at home.

11. Also, involving your child in the shopping for food should help too. Print out a food guide or "food pyramid" so you have a visual of the food groups with you. Have her choose the foods from each group that you will buy that week. You will find also that eating healthier will cost you a lot less than eating junk, so maybe a money incentive would work with your child. Compare the grocery bill from a typical shopping trip including junk food with one from a trip buying just healthy food. If there is a difference, you could give her the extra money to spend as she chooses. (If you don't want her buying junk food, specify that it has to be a non-food item).

These are just some tips from me using what I have learned from my mom over the years- I hope some of it will be helpful to you.



answers from Minneapolis on

1. DONOT buy junk, she'll give in eventually and eat again she won't starve to death.

2. Make a good example and eat healthy foods yourself

3. Make eating good foods fun. Buy apples and buy caramel dip to dip them in, buy fruit and fruitdip to go with it. Kids love to dip food in various things like ketchup,carmel,creamcheese,ranch,cheese, peanut butter.

4. Both my girls were preemies now 9mos.and 7yrs. and I usually don't tell people or bring it up because I don't want them to use it as a crutch in life to get special treatment or walk over people. I treat them like any ole kid their own age. Some micro preemies will carry problems on through childhood but...most preemies are completely caught up by age2. I treat my kids like kids not like fragile spoiled brats. My daughter knows when I make dinner this is what is for dinner if you don't like it to bad no special treatment. It's not like I make dinners she hates alot or anything.

Here is a list of healthy foods most kids like
Fresh Fruit, Cheese-PeanutButter/Crackers, Yogurt, Raisins,Veggies w/dip, string cheese, Peanutbutter/Jelly Sandwhiches, Applesauce, Pretzels, Nuts etc..



answers from Eau Claire on

I agree with the rest of the people. Stop buying the junk food. She will eat the other stuff when she gets hungry enough. We always have carrots and ranch dressing, frozen fruit, yogurt, and other such snacky things in the house for the kids to eat during the summer.



answers from La Crosse on

You could also start by taking her to the grocery store and letting her pick out three different pieces of fruit and one 'fancy vegetable'...and of course let her carry her own shopping basket. There are all sorts of fun ways to help her appreciate eating healthful foods even though she is in a food rut right now just like so many other children her age. The trick is for you to gently help her ease out of that junk-food stage with: 1. her self-esteem still intact and 2. a love of fruits and vegetables (lasts a lifetime).

It is not too late to grow some beans or peas in a pot on your porch or in a small garden. Have you ever fed her peas fresh from the shell? She just might surprise you. I can't pop open the pods fast enough for my little one who would otherwise be chomping on sugar stuff all day long if she had her way. Good luck! She will eat what you eat!!



answers from Davenport on

Do exactly what you've tried. Non't buy it, and don't feel guilty when she doesn't eat. When she learns she gets nothing in return for her efforts, she'll start to turn around. Just don't make a big deal out of her not eating. Give her choices, would she like carrots or peas? Let her be involved, or at least offer her the opportunity to help you prepare it. She may be more apt to try it if she has some control over the meal choices. If she doesn't eat, that's on her, and trust me, she'll get hungry enough to start nibbling at something, at some point. Hang in there and maintain your cool, and you'll get her back on board.



answers from Milwaukee on

Get rid of the junkfood. Don't have it available and don't let her see you eat it.



answers from La Crosse on

Maybe try packing her a lunch at home like you would for school and let her eat it in the envirnment as in school and slowly graduate her to the table at mealtime. It would be worth a try.



answers from Rapid City on

S. -
Your daughter will eat whatever you give her. Quit buying the chips & poptarts - she can't eat them if there aren't any in the house!

She will eat whatever you put in front of her if she gets hungry enough. So she misses a meal because she is being stubborn ... her little tummy will give in sooner or later and she'll eat what you fix. You have to be the parent here and not let a little 6 year old tell you what she is or isn't going to do. Sorry - this may seem harsh but sometimes you have to say it like it is.

If you don't give it to her, she can't eat it!



answers from Green Bay on

Hi S.,
Like the spelling of your name. Most junk food is addictive. I would recommend getting it all out of the house or severly limiting it for everyone.
Good luck,
PS: have you tried veggies with dip.
PSS: there are some good cookbooks out there on kids and veggies.



answers from Minneapolis on

Good health starts with good food. Personally, I don't purchase pop or pop tarts, very few crackers and only rarely. I have some chips in the house but potato chips are rare.

I spend most of my food budget on fresh fruit and vegetables. My now 16 year old son prefers fruit to almost anything. I have it on the counter so he can take it whenever he wants it.

Good or bad nutrition affects us long term. The decisions she makes now concerning food can make a difference later in her life.

If you want to chat more, let me know.




answers from Minneapolis on


Children will not starve themselves to death. If there is no junk food in the house at all, eventually she will get hungry enough she will eat something else. There is no need for a power struggle. You fix her healthy meals and she either chooses to eat or she doesn't. There isn't a need to fight or yell about it; you just let her experience the natural consequences of her own actions. If she doesn't eat what you fix her, then she doesn't eat. If she is 6, she clearly isn't driving herself to the store to buy the junk. If you don't buy it and bring it home, she won't eat it because it isn't there.

Good luck,



answers from Omaha on

My advice is don't buy it. When she gets hungry enough she will eat. (FYI My docotor told me when I had a sick child that kids can go for 30 days without food but only 3 days without liquids.) Not saying to starve your child but set limits. She only get a small snack if and only when she finishes her meals. You are the parent and you decide what she eats plain and simple(remember she eat lunch at school so she can eat real food). Because if she dictates now at 6 what she'll eat or not just imagine 14 and wanting to be out all night or have boys stay over. She didn't listen to you at 6 so she think she doesn't have to listen or follow the rules at 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Besides if she doesn't get the correct food she will not develop normally or have weight issues later in life. Remember she is only 6 years old and that YOU are the parent, it may not be pleasant for a little while at home but she needs to respect you and your house rules.



answers from Madison on

Don't buy junk food and then she won't have the option. She will eat when she gets hungry enough.

Try to involve her in planning and fixing meals. Ask her to help pick out a few healthy meals she would like each week. Have her go to the store with you and she can help pick out the ingredients. I've found that when I involve my kids in making a meal they are more likely to eat it, or at least try it!!



answers from Minneapolis on

Exactly as the last posts--- DON'T BUY JUNK FOOD!!!! When she has the choice of course that is what she will eat. It really is not her fault. Almost all junk foods are exactly that---junk. They contain so many additives, dyes, preservatives, sugars, artificial ingredients, MSG, etc...and these ingredients can cause an almost like addiction. So it may be that she feels like her body is telling her that she is suppose to eat those foods---because her body is craving those foods. It may be a bit of a hard transition but noone is doing her any favors by feeding her all the junk foods. I suggest to not buy any and make healthy meals. She will eat if she is hungry enough and soon enough she will learn that she will not get all the junk foods and her body will also start to realize that and it will be much easier.



answers from St. Cloud on

Don't buy it. When she is hungry she will eat other foods. If you allow her to continue eating only junk she will.



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't buy it! If junk food isn't available she won't eat it. When she's hungry enough she'll eat the healthier options you provide. Have a selection of snacks and easy meal fixings and give her choices; let her help put her meals and snacks together. My 6yo started making his own sandwiches when he was 4 and knows how to microwave leftovers. We always have things like apples, bananas, string cheese, baby carrots, and whole grain snacks that my boys can easily get themselves in between meals. Even my 2yo knows how to get a healthy snack when he needs one.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.
Have you considered that this may be a sensory issue. my daughter has sensory issue and when we forget to do therapy for a few days she will go back to only eatinf junk. Do you know for sure your daughter was eating her lunch at school or was she trading it or throwing it away.

Next question: SO Hungry After School