kids WILL eat HEALTHY…..just starve them first:)

15 Apr

My little niece (she’s 16 now) came over for a sleepover last night. She throws her overnight bag onto the floor and heads straight for the pantry cabinet. She opens the door and stares inside for a few seconds.

“Where’s the spaghetti? I want spaghetti for dinner.”

“We don’t have spaghetti.”

“Well, where’s the cookies?”

“We don’t have cookies.”

“Do you have any ice cream?”


“Chips and salsa?”


Exasperated, “Oh my god, I’m going to starve to death!”

Well, we’re off to a great start!

45 minutes later….”Can I have some green juice?”

What?  Did I hear that correctly? My 16 year old niece who ate Subway and McDonalds earlier that day, just asked me for GREEN JUICE? Let me repeat that. She, asked us, for green juice.

Shut. Up.

Later that evening, she walked over to the fridge and stared inside for a full minute. Just as I was getting ready to say something about the open door, she grabbed the kale soup and threw it in the microwave. She scarfed it down and promptly went back for a second helping.

Over the next 24 hours, my niece proceeded to eat a Berry/Banana/Kale Smoothie. She also ate salmon for dinner (after vehemently explaining to me how she ONLY eats shrimp). I also gave her a caper to try. She didn’t like it. That’s ok she at least tried it. I chopped up a small piece of nopalito for her. She didn’t like that either. But she ate it! “Ewwwwww, is that a beet?” With a healthy dose of light Ranch dressing, she finished eating the watercress, beet, gorgonzola and walnut salad.

The next day, my husband and I felt like exercising so we grabbed the three off-road bikes and told my niece, who was laying on the couch all afternoon, she was coming with us. “I don’t feel like it” she says. ‘I have a headache, I don’t feel good, besides I don’t have any shoes to wear”. I turned off the tv, confiscated the remote and threw a pair of tennis shoes in her direction. She came outside a few minutes later with her unbrushed hair pulled back in a ponytail. “You guys are dorks, only dorks wear gloves when biking!” After biking for a few miles, we stopped to take a break. She quietly got off her bike and started picking at her hands. My husband asked her if she had a blister. She nodded her head yes. He took off his gloves, handed them to her and she immediately put them on her hands. Ok dork! We rode only 8 miles that day and she did really great. Off-road biking is a lot more difficult than on-road. We had great time:)

That evening, I was gathering a few of her things to take her back to her mom’s house and I noticed her box of Nerds candy sitting there. I shook the box assuming she left the empty carton laying around, but instead, I heard the hard little candies rattling around. Interesting, my niece never ate the candy she brought with her.

My niece was extremely resistant to a lot of things we did and ate during her brief stay with up, but ultimately she gave in.  We just stood our ground with her this time. In the past, I felt guilty for not having ‘junk food’ in my house for her. I would always take her to the store and let her pick out whatever she wanted to eat. And, of course, she would always choose the frozen pizzas and ice cream and candy. This time, we didn’t buy her any junk food, and ultimately, she ate what we ate.

I hear parents all the time saying “my kids are picky eaters, little Suzie won’t eat (fill in the blank), and then you see the kid eating a cheeseburger and fries from McD’s.  Stop feeding them snacks. Stop feeding them Goldfish crackers an hour before dinner. If you feed them snacks, they won’t be hungry. They won’t eat the peas and carrots on their plate. Why would they, they are already full. They ate Doritos for dinner. Why would they eat peas and carrots for dessert?

But what do I know. I’m not a parent. One day yes, but not right now. Some things just seems like logic. We tried something different with my niece and it worked. We’ll try it again next time she visits. If she visits. Maybe we scared her away! I hope not. I had a great time hanging out with her this weekend.

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