My daughter is good and often eats the fruits and veggies I put on her plate. But when the decision is hers, she’ll reach for a cookie or another processed sweet. How can I get her to make better decisions on her own? She’s only 8, so I don’t want to be too controlling over her eating.

It’s all about empowering her with knowledge and engaging her curiosity and taste buds!  Eight year olds love to cook and bake, so start there!  If she loves cookies or sweets, bake healthy ones with her, such as my Fudgy Brownie Bites or Soft Pretzels.  They’ll quickly become her favorite recipes—and not just her favorite “healthy recipes!”  At breakfast, let her come up with her own smoothie concoction with all kinds of fruits and a little yogurt or milk.  Fruits is super sweet all on its own, so let her choose her favorites—just make sure you’re there to supervise the use of the blender.  Eating fruits and veggies is important, but the fun factor is key to keep kids reaching for them on their own time!

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.

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