Are your kids sick of school lunches? How can you encourage them to take the high road when it comes to nutrition at school, when all they want is pizza?
Heres a news flash: most children prefer taste over nutrition, so we need to beat them at their own game. Then everyone wins! Educating them about nutrition is important, but doesn't always translate into better choices.
Thank goodness for "healthy junk foods." This new generation of health food tastes delicious, and bears no resemblance to their cardboard- and Styrofoam-flavored ancestors.
Try sending along Frito Lay Sun Chips, which are whole grain, and made with natural oil. Garden of Eatin' sesame blues or multigrain chips are always a hit, perhaps with salsa, as cleverly disguised veggies. Flat Earth chips offer half a serving of real fruits and vegetables, and Smart Food popcorn is universally loved. Portion control can be created with resealable bags.
Tropical Source fruit leather has no high fructose corn syrup; and when paired with a few dark chocolates, it's antioxidant heaven. My book, Your Final Diet, offers a more complete list of brand name choices.
What if you allowed your child to eat pizza, if they only order one piece and have salad and/or fruit with it? Exact change may ensure compliance. Maybe you can work out a system that allows an unhealthy lunch for every two days that a healthy lunch is eaten.
Throw in toy surprises for young children, or a silly joke they can share with their friends. For older kids, toss in a personal story about yourself, if they agree to take lunch. That might improve your relationship too, by making you appear more human!
If all else fails, try bribing them! Better choices earn money or points towards privileges. Hey, whatever it takes!
Dr. Abby Aronowitz is a psychologist, speaker and coach, who completed work at Columbia University. She holds two masters degrees and a Ph.D. Previously a consultant to Weight Watchers International, Dr. Abby has been featured on WebMD.com and AOL Diet and Fitness. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and Mensa. Information about her book, Your Final Diet, and other products can be found at YourFinalDiet.com.