Veggie Resistant Family

Updated on October 10, 2008
N.V. asks from Morris Plains, NJ
36 answers

Any suggestions to wean my kids off of junk food and animal products and introduce more vegetables? I was able to get some advice to get started on a website offering weight loss for life, but I really need to hear from other moms.

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A.S.

answers from New York on

Just cutting up fruit or veggies and putting it out on a nice plate or bowl like an appetizer maybe with a lo cal dip makes it more enticing.

If I don't put it out for them they don't eat it.

A beautiful bowl of grapes or strawberries put out it starts to disappear.

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N.C.

answers from New York on

I would say introduce slowly, have small protions the grwo to bigger ones, don't force, make the kids responsible for fixing the veggies for dinner and finlly jazz up the veggies(add butter, cheese, seasoning, etc).
I know that people say no to adding fat to veggies but a little bit adds a lot of flavor and as the kids get use to eating veggies you can add less and less until there is vertually none. But truthfully there will always be some, just don't go crazy!!! lol

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J.L.

answers from Albany on

Hi N.,
The only thing that works is to sneak the healthy foods to them disguised as milk shakes! I found the solution and I love the products so much, I became a consultant for the company. Would like to help you. We can communicate on line. My email is [email protected]____.com. First, though, go to josie12866.isagenix.com , Click on IsaVideos, and watch any one of them. Now, I know this may sound odd to you, but give it a try!
The nutritional products are great for any age!

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D.B.

answers from New York on

Jerry Seinfeld's wife has a recipe book called "Simply Delicious" about hiding fruits/veggies in everything you cook. My guess is why not at least it gets into their bodies, Once their bodies get use to that taste you can slowly wean them into knowing their eating it, and maybe trying certain things on their own accord instead of hiding it.

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C.P.

answers from Albany on

Good morning N.,

I have been on one of the best nutional foods out there. I only wish it was around when my children were younger (now in their twenties!)

Via Viente is great tasting - like grape juice and kids love it! Plus, it offers the equivelant of FIVE fruits and vegetables in JUST ONE OUNCE!

I have learned so much since being on Via Viente. For example, did you know that when a food is heated in any fashion (pasturized, even "flash" heated) it kills most, if not all, of the food's enzymes? Enzymes are CRITICAL to our health. All the non-raw, processed, basically DEAD FOOD we eat today is a major contributing factor to today's diseases and relatively shortened life-spans. In other words, raw fruits and veggies are best!

Via Viente is COLD-PROCESSED. THAT MEANS THE ENZYMES ARE INTACT!

My advice is to google "enzymes" and you will learn so much. Jerry Sienfeld's wife also wrote a cookbook a few years ago for ways to get veggies in almost anything (even brownies).

Please take a moment to look at the advantages of Via Viente at www.fptoz.gotvia.com/presentations.html

It has become my life's passion to educate and share this information!

Good for you in realizing this for your children. You are a good mom!

C.

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A.J.

answers from Albany on

Just stop buying the junk food. Have fruits & veggies washed and sliced and ready for snacking in the fridge. Have almonds, sunflower seeds in the pantry.

Deprivation is not the answer. Allowing an occasional junk food treat is ok. Just buy it the day you want it, control serving sizes and throw out any leftovers.

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W.T.

answers from New York on

We use a sticker chart at our house -- each day there's a line for each person, with boxes for: juice (ONE allowed), fruit 1, fruit 2, veggie 1, veggie 2, option 1, option 2, and extra credit. On the days we get extra credit, there's a reward.

We do this every other week, and it's a nice reminder. Reaching for crackers? I see the chart and think, well, I'll have an apple and THEN some crackers, and if I'm still hungry after the apples I DO have the crackers. Planning dinner? We want a sticker so we put in a can or peas or green beans. When we shop, we look for things that would give us stickers. Plus, the local Farmers Market is a favorite family outing.

One of our basic recipes is rotini, can of tuna, basil/oregano, and veggie (broccoli, peas, cooked carrots, etc). Easy-peezy. We also have the pampered chef brand steamer -- plastic, goes in microwave, perfect broccoli in 3 minutes flat, and easy clean-up.

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K.P.

answers from Buffalo on

Hi N.,

Steamed veggies did the trick for my family. My kids AND my husband were only into meat and potatoes...till I served steamed broccoli and carrots as a side dish one day. After many enjoyable meals of steamed goodies, they now eat regular cooked veggies, lightly spiced, as long as I don't 'mush them to death':)
Trick is in getting lots of color to the table...if it looks good, they'll try it. And once they try it, they realise how delicious it is.
We also add some frozeb mixed veggies to pasta and rice, and that goes down well too.

Best of luck,

K.

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M.B.

answers from New York on

what i find that works well is right before they get home from school have a plate full of cut up veggies with a dip so that is what they snack on as soon as they come home. this way they don't have a chance to run to the fridge or pantry and ask for something. it's not going to take overnight... they will start learning slowly that eating healthy is the right choice for their bodies and to feeling good. You should limit t.v. or video games to maybe 1hour each day after they've done homework and have a full belly so they are not looking for unhealthy snacks while they are sitting on the sofa watching t.v. the same goes for the weekends... after school though they should definitely let some energy out by playing outside for at least an hour. And of course just don't cary unhealthy snacks in the house. Don't deprive them of them once in a while.... or teach them limits... if they crave cookies... give them one just not a big plate full! and finally... give them choices... "Would you like cheese and crackers or an apple for a snack?" just stick with it and before you know it they will make the right food choices on their own. HOpe my advice helps...
-M.

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D.R.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,

I don't like veggies and haven't like them since I was a child(I know it's bad), but I have learned to eat them in certain ways. My mother makes this awesome cream soup and she uses fresh or frozen veggies to make it. We add a hint of cheddar & some milk to the soup. It sort of taste like broccoli and cheese soup(which by the way is the only way that I eat broccoli). Last winter I just learned to make it, as I too wanted my son to eat veggies. I learned to eat them that way first and still won't eat them uncooked, but am more open to trying certain foods. Maybe you could try making a cream soup and then introduce them in whole pieces. This way you can tell them that it's the same thing that is in the soup that they like(if they like it). This won't be an easy transition since they are already used to eating everything else except for veggies.
I would also suggest just like others, that you get rid of the junk food. Remember, they can only eat what you buy them.

I hope this helps you.
Good luck.

If you need the recipe for the soup, email me at [email protected]____.com

D.

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J.P.

answers from Syracuse on

Buy a mini-chopper and mix the veggies in with other things. My kids liked junk food too but I stopped buying it. Now they eat raw peppers with dip, Greek organic yogurt, Kohlrabies( not sure if I spelled that right) sliced with a tiny bit of salt on it. Bananas, apples, pears, and grapes are also big hits. They still like cheese but I buy locally made organic cheese. They love salad with their dinner but don't like any dressing on it. We had to quit junk food cold turkey. I just stopped buying it. If they were hungry they will eat what is in the house. They get enough junk at school. Some people's idea of healthy snacks are different from others. I don't consider fruit snacks a healthy snack choice. Stick to your guns and just do not buy the stuff any more. When my kids get home from school I have a plate on the table with sliced raw veggies for them to snack on. If they don't eat it they really were not hungry.

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D.C.

answers from Albany on

Slowly start buying more fruits/veggies and less junk food.... If the junk isn't in the house, it isn't an option to eat. (I would do it sIowly, so that it's not a shock to them and they won't protest as much.) I like to cook vegetables in other food, like scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, or pasta. (If they're old enough to think that they don't like vegetables, this is good because it makes them less obvious.) Also, kids like raw veggies that they can dip and eat with their hands.
The advice we got from a nutritionist was....
Put healthy food on everyone's plate and eat. The kids will see you eating and eventually eat it too. Don't make a big deal out of how much they're eating, just ignore it. If you yell at them to eat, they're less likely to do it. Don't ever bribe them with dessert or they'll think they just have to get through the healthy food to get to the dessert that they really want. They'll think that the fruits/veggies are so gross, they deserve a reward for eating them.

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A.G.

answers from New York on

Jerry Seinfelds wife produced a cook book for healthy eating that incorporates a lot of vegies both known and hidden! Don't remember the name but look through the cookbooks with Seinfeld as the last name. I saw it either at Target, Walmart or Sam's Club. Sorry can't remember. (Had a screaming 2yo in tow!!!) A.

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J.S.

answers from New York on

one of my girls will absolutely not eat vegetables. it is totally normal for toddlers. our pediatrician says just keep offering it and one day she'll eat it. We give a vitamin every day and I give them, i think it's welches, "Healthy Harvest" juice. it's got 1 full serving of veggies per serving of juice and it tastes like fruit punch. all natural, no added sugars..

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D.

answers from New York on

There are 2 great books out there that you need to look into. The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious. They give really good recipes for hiding veggies in your kids foods. I was going to buy them off amazon or ebay myself. Or get them from your local library and take a peak. Your even hiding veggies in brownies, cookies and cupcakes.

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M.T.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,
Only buy the snacks that you want your family to eat. It's okay to snack, and it doesn't all have to be fruits, veggies, cheese and yogurt. Have tasty snacks like microwave popcorn, trail mix, peanut butter crackers - things that still taste like snacks but aren't on the worst end of the snack spectrum. If you have the junk food in the house, kids will eat it.

As for more veggies in the diet, I don't know what your kids eat but if they are very veggie resistent, I think kids like raw more than cooked. At meals, put out a selection of raw veggies - they can help themselves to what they'd like. Don't comment on their selections or try to encourage them to take something else or try something new, just leave the bowls on the table and let them be as adventurous as they would like.

Good luck!

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D.G.

answers from New York on

morning star and garden or veggie patch both make "veggie nuggets" that are very tasty and also contain protein. it could be a start to eating vegetables. i also use sauces on fresh vegetables and find that the more tasty the sauce or seasoning, the more my foster son will eat. he's 15 months old and loves all kinds of vegetables. dr. praegers also makes a veggie burger that has chunks of real vegetable in them. grill them with cheese on top to make it more enticing.

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T.I.

answers from New York on

My family and I recently switched to a healthier diet and the first step was to eliminate junk food from the grocery list. No sodas in the house-they are now reserved for special occasions; if I buy chips for a movie night, they are served in small containers to control portions. To get more veggies I started to add more veggies directly to my main course and offer my son one new veggie each week. Zucchini was a success...rutabaga was not, neither were brussel sprouts. But I keep trying. I also make soup with lots of root veggies and pumpkin or squash which he loves.
Good luck.

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G.P.

answers from Utica on

I know this sounds mean but you just need to cut out the junk food all at once. Don't have any of it in the house. Have fun with the snacks, like "ants on a log" (celery w/peanut butter and raisins) but don't give in. When I don't have junk in the house my daughter doesn't ask for it, she's more excited about oranges, pears and apples than potato chips. They may not like it now, but their pallette will change once they don't have the junk to eat and they will develop a taste for the good stuff.

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M.B.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,
There are a couple of cookbooks that have recipes that sneak in veggies. One is by Jessica Seinfeld, I can't remember the other author, but I have seen both books in the children sections of the bookstore. They basically cook and puree food and put them in all different kinds of food. One thing I do regularly is put take baby food (basically pureed veggies) carrots or sweet potatoes and put it in Mac n Cheese. The color matches and as long as you don't put too much in, they can't taste it! We do keep putting veggies on my kids' plates, but they rarely eat them without a fight.
Good Luck
M.

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J.E.

answers from New York on

Try Jessica Seinfelds cookbook...I think it is called Deceptively Delicious. There are many recipes in there which 'hide' vegetables and might be a good way to slowly introduce your family to vegetables without the struggle. Good luck!

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A.D.

answers from New York on

Hi N., I know my children liked to eat veggies mixed up with mashed potatoes. It may be a slow process but keep introducing vegetables one at a time. Don't have the snacks and junk food around. If they are hungry they will eat what you give them. My grandchildren love to eat carrot sticks with ranch dressing as a dip. Veggie burgers are good too. Best wishes, Grandma Mary

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C.R.

answers from Syracuse on

Get your kids involved with the prepping/cooking...have them make the salad...we make applesauce together...I peel and core...they chop it into pieces...then we add water and a little cin at the end and they love "their" applesauce...also remember to keep offering it, but be realistic....just put one or two bites on their plates per meal...with the you must try a bite attitude...not the you'll be here til your twenty or have eaten it attitude....also I do let my kids sprinkle a little grated cheese on their veggies if they want....I do agree that if it's not in the house they'll find something else to eat...and one more thing...if they don't already take a multi-vitamin...start...(I even take my kid's gummy ones cause they taste better)...best of luck!

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M.R.

answers from New York on

My suggestion is if your kids won't eat the veggies..you can get them to 'drink' their veggies. Either straight V8 Juice or V8 also has V8 splash...fruit and veggies mixed. I've served it to my kids (though they do eat their veggies) and they couldn't tell that there was veggies in the drink because the fruit overpowered the taste of the veggies. You could do this at home as well with veggies, fruits, and a blender. Mix them all together and serve it as a drink.

And when you say junk food... what kinds of 'junk food' are you talking about?

If its chips/soda/etc.... all that are not all that good for you (but taste delicious!)..then stop buying them altogether.

There's no cakes, cookies, chips, or soda in my house at all. Only if we have a party do those kinds of 'goodies' come out. (my hubby hates it..but too bad i say)

good luck in the transition!!

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C.K.

answers from New York on

I'm a vegetarian, so it's kind of easy for me to substitute veggie burgers and hot dogs for my son... He just eats what I do. As for vegetables, I stick them in everything he'll eat! I either puree them myself or if in a crunch for time, use baby food. I'll put pureed vegetables in mac and cheese, regular pasta with tomato sauce, meatballs..... His favorite pancakes are whole wheat, with either sweet potatoes or carrots (although he doesn't realize that...) Hope this helps!

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A.S.

answers from Rochester on

I do not allow junk in my house -
When the kids are hungry, they'll eat. :)

Seriously - I have the kids help me cook, they can pick out the veggies, ask them how shall we cook this today...

You're setting up some good habits...change is hard...but once it's in place the kids will feel better and will learn to reach for the good stuff.

I always encourage them to TRY it - if they don't like it, then fine. But they need to have a bite...

You're the mom - it's ok for you to make this decision for your family. :)

Best wishes,

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D.C.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,
Yes the problem that all moms have, how to get our famillies to eat veg? Me? I hide it. If I make chili, I use 1/2 a pack of lean beef, 1/2 a pack ground turkey and a whole package of mushrooms ground up in the food processor with carrots and celery thrown in too (saute before throwing meat in to brown it). Once you put the chili powder in the mix NO ONE can tell the difference. Works wtih other types of stew too. It is friendly to kids/hubby cause there IS in fact meat but 1/4 of what you'de typically use. Bread? Try Genesis bread (sprouted grain bread) very yummy. Bagles? Thomas' makes whole wheat mini bagles, less bread so can pack a whole can of tuna on it (still) and have a meal. Snacks? Pirate's booty=better than chips and TASTY! Also 100 calorie snack packs are great for snack for you too. Can keep peeled carrots and celery in water in fridge so easy to grab. Exercise? make a game of walking up a few flights of stairs on way up to apt. (don't have to walk up the entire way, but 3 flights a day=good start). Baby? try sling/bjorn great esp. if baby is 20lbs or more! Older kids? make game of who can do most push/sit ups & reward with 10 min of extra stay up late before bedtime. Hope you can get something from this. Good Luck.

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L.C.

answers from New York on

I just read an article recently in the NY Times about food mistakes parents make. One thing it suggested in regard to eating more vegetables was not to be afraid to make them taste good. Add some butter or cheese or a white sauce to green veggies, especially stronger tasting ones like broccoli. Put brown sugar in with yams all the time, not just at Thanksgiving. Add cream cheese or PB to celery. Stuff like that. When it's all unprocessed stuff, it's still good for you.

And as a former food writer (many, many moons ago) the tricks my local nutritionist sources recommended were:

1) Casseroles that include vegetables. Tuna casserole with peas. Green bean casserole. Broccoli, rice and cheese. Simple recipes that add veggies.
2) Vegetable juice. There's some mixed fruit/veggie juices on the market now, too, that are really good.
3) Cream soups. When a soup is blended, you can't tell what's in it. Cream of carrot soup, creamy lentil soup. Most are based with a chicken stock that adds flavor and when veggies are cooked for a long time, they get milder and milder.
4) Grilled veggies. The roasted flavor is delicious.
5) Raw veggies with a dip. A kid who wouldn't dream of eating cooked carrots might reluctantly try a crisp raw carrot served with a low-fat ranch dip and find out it's pretty tasty.

Also, the less processed food you keep in your house the better. This makes cooking more of a challenge and adds time, but include your kids in meal preparation when you can. When they have a stake in preparing something, they're more likely to at least try it. And it gets them familiar with how the kitchen works and what goes in to making a meal.

And as with all things, the more you put out there, the more chances your kids will have to try something new. Eating can be an adventure. And sometimes tastes aren't always "yummy." Sometimes they are different or refreshing or even indescribable. But the more tastes your tongue knows, the more fun eating becomes.

Good luck, N.!

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N.B.

answers from Jamestown on

Quit buying junk food.

No really, the less junk you buy the more they will have to look for something else to snack on. My 15 year old eats a can of corn when he wants a snack. I think it's weird but....

LOL,
Nanc

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J.S.

answers from New York on

Hi N.~
When my children lived with me, I would make dinner and they would complain about not liking this or that and I would just say, "This is what we are eating, so eat." I made one dinner and we all ate together the same thing. I know people that make this for their husband, that for their son and the other for their daughter. If you do that, then I would stop immediately.
Without knowing how old your children are, I would try a few different things: get them involved in making dinner and shopping for dinner. Make pasta primevera with lots of different veggies, and you don't always have to get fresh, frozen are okay, too.
Explain to th your children that chips are okay once in a while, but not for everyday. As a child, growing up, chips were served with dinner on those rare occasions my mother made sloppy joes. We almost never kept them in the house, either. And don't be fooled by the veggie chips as they aren't all that great, either.
Good luck let me know how everything works out.
J.

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C.B.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,

If you can't stand cold turkey on the junk food, here is a suggestion. My step son was used to having plenty of sugary foods when he came to live with us. (in his country, they put sugar in the milk). His Dad was no help as an example. I started having "sugar Friday". If he begged for a honey bun on Tuesday, I could say no more easily with the reminder that on Friday, the honey bun was a sure thing.

I would also suggest to skip any nagging, that makes it a power struggle. I also agree with the no bribery or rewards since the message really is, yes, this stuff is so yucky, you need to be paid to eat it. Make sure you offer choices. One would think that sooner or later, they've got to like something.

Good luck!

C.

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H.G.

answers from New York on

-baked sweet potato fries/wedges

-corn on the cob with fat-free butter spray

-carrot and celery sticks dipped in fat-free ranch (add cucumber slices too!)

And tons of fruit! Fruit is a yummy way to get lots of vitamins. If your kids eat 2-3 servings of fruit a day (raw, fresh fruit- not dried, canned, or anything in syrup), and one serving of vegetables, then they'll be just fine.

Good luck, and be strong! If you change your own eating habits, and don't keep junk in the house, then they'll either eat what you eat or starve! :)

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L.D.

answers from New York on

Try Kale chips. Buy kale (leafy dark green veggie) tear it off the stems in little pieces, toss it with olive oil and sea salt and spread it on a cookie sheet in the oven (350 for 15 minutes until totally crispy. My veggie resistent kids eat it like potato chips. They love it and so do we. Also, before you ban animal products, try to go organic and and ban processed pre-packaged food and white sugar/flour. You will be amazed how quickly you lose weight and your family's health and temperment inproves! Good luck!

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M.S.

answers from New York on

Make veggies with every meal as well as a salad, make less meat, put veggies in pasta and in rice. My kids love veggies. I cook them in pasta and rice all the time. Make a keesh with veggies. Make a minestrone soup. Buy more fruit and less "junk" food. Make deserts with strawberries and bananas. You can also, buy a variety of fruit and melons, cut in all up, put it in a large bowl and keep it in the frig and offer it as a snack while watching TV or after dinner. Put the bowl out instead of a bowl of popcorn while watching a movie. These are just a few, Good Luck.

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M.B.

answers from Rochester on

N.,

Ages might help here: Don't buy the junk. No idea how old your kids are - so I have no idea if they have access in other places. If it isn't in the house, they can't eat it there.

Limit TV (advertises junk), teen magazines (advertise junk), and put healthy alternatives in the fridge.

Even if you just put a veggie tray with dip (no double dipping! :) in there, they have that option, and a little ranch dressing is better than a bag of chips.

Airpop popcorn with oregano. It's incredible. (absolutely insane with butter, but you're trying to avoid that :)

Have 2 veggies and a bland starch - plain rice, and meat if you eat it.

Get different veggies, and try them out different ways. Low salt is a good plan to think about too. Find out what you like, and they will usually follow suit.

Fruits, too, would work for a tray.

Sadly, I qualify as a Mom, but not as a Mom with teenagers. I only know what I did when I was a kid - Mom didn't keep that stuff in the house - we couldn't afford it. 'We don't need that' was the mantra of the day. Didn't help me want things less though. I think if she had approached things differently, I might have different.

For exercise, I would not recommend a pet. You can't make them walk the pet - it would become a control issue too easily, and the pet might suffer. Exercise was something my Mom got me into by virtue of 'you're going to do something, not sit around the house reading all day'. So I was in soccer (didn't play well) and swimming (fared better, but not a passion that stayed with me).

What YOU get into with them might be the best course of action. Take them to the park, and they will get exercise as a by product, even if it is walking to the swings. Get into hiking and green paths (cleaning as you go - de-litterizing). There is so much you can do together.

I wish you luck,
M.

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K.G.

answers from New York on

My advice would be, dont discuss it, just do it. I see too many Moms that are slaves to what their children will and wont eat and it is ridiculous. But the more you "talk" about what is healthy, etc, the more resistant they may be. Dont buy junk food and they cannot eat it as regularly. Substitute healthy snacks instead (veggie chips for potato chips, crudite with dressing, etc). And get out together. Telling them to excercise wont do a thing. Do it together. Plan a walk or just go outside with a ball and throw it around. If your kids see you doing it, they will too. Best of luck!

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