Newsletter Sign-Up

Get Robyn's green smoothie
recipe free!


food for extraordinary health!

simple . affordable . delicious

Eliminate junk food

On this next suggestion for helping kids to eat right, I’m going to mince no words: eliminate junk food. Get rid of the worst choices from your fridge and pantry. Just quit buying them, cold turkey. Especially soft drinks, processed meat (like hot dogs, bacon, and sausage), potato chips, and sugar. Life isn’t over or even less fun. Your kids will still see those foods on occasions such as parties and barbecues–and that’s where those foods belong, a once-in-a-while indulgence, not daily fare. Tell them you’re going to learn to make treats that are both yummy and good for them. (I dedicate a whole chapter of 12 Steps to Whole Foods to that.)

I want to assure you that “picky kids” will not starve themselves. People who eat sugar every day have tastes adapted to that very addictive chemical and the dopamine receptors that respond to the chemical. But get rid of sugary foods for even a few days, and tastes change rather dramatically (of course, you have to live with the withdrawal symptoms in the meantime, but they don’t usually last more than a few days). Fruit tastes better, for instance, when you’re “off” sugar. Green smoothies are in the realm of possibilities when Capri Sun has been out of the picture for a while.

When all else fails, enter bribery. Do it in a subtle way you can live with. My friend Brenda pays her kids $20 for a month of eating no sugar, and then doubles that amount for each additional month. If that’s too crass for you, start out your green smoothie experiment with a chart on the fridge and a fun family outing planned for the end of the month for anyone who drinks a glassful every day you make it during the month. Then have a conversation with your kids and (if you’re doing my 12 step program), document in your 12 Steps journal the health effects they noticed, as well. Tell them at the beginning of the month that it’s a personal experiment for them, as well as a family experiment, and you want them to keep an eye on whether they have more energy, more focus in school, better digestion, or a more positive mood. If you eliminate junk food, your changes become permanent, rather than just another short-lived “health kick.”

Tags: , , , , ,