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How do I get my son to stop eating junk food?

answered 07:15 PM EST, Tue April 24, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
My 7 year old son only eats basically carbohydrates. He won’t eat any vegetables and he’ll only eat deep fried meats – if it’s not crunchy and battered (nuggets or fish sticks for example) he’s pretty much not going to do it. A lot of the time I can’t get him to eat any kind of meal; he will only eat snack type foods like chips or crackers. I know this makes me sound like a terrible parent to let him have chips for dinner but I am so desperate a lot of the time just to see him eat anything that I will let him eat what he wants, just so he’ll get some calories in.

He is very skinny now although the doctor says he is not dangerously underweight. I do give him a multi vitamin each day so I hope that helps.

How can I make him eat a more varied diet? I have been trying to encourage him to try to eat different things for years and it just is not working. If it is something he doesn’t already ‘like’ he won’t even try it. This has been going on for years and it is not getting any better. Everyone told me that this would get better as he grew up but it doesn’t seem to be happening. I am really worried that he is never going to change his ways and he is going to be very unhealthy or not grow properly. I don’t know what to do. I am ashamed to admit this but I was so frustrated last night I even tried force feeding him. It was awful. What can I do to make him eat even a little more variety?

William Anderson Says...

Why are these junk foods available to him? How does he get deep fried meats, chips and "snack foods"? He's only seven. He must be getting them from you.

If you have bought into the idea that buying this stuff and having it available is OK, you have been suckered into being a conspirator in the creation of the addictions that result in the obesity epidemic. He may be skinny now, but if you let this go on, you'll be contributing to the formation of diseases in your son, not health. The companies that make and market these things are the same companies that had us thinking smoking was OK, that marketed cigarettes to kids because they knew if they got them hooked early, they pretty much had them for life. Getting this stuff and letting him eat it is like supplying him with cigarettes. Get that stuff out of the house.

If he gets hungry, have fruit around for snacks. Prepare decent meals, and if he doesn't eat them, don't make a big deal of it. Eventually, he'll get hungry and eat what you serve.

If his doctor says his weight is OK, it is. If you don't trust your doctor to provide sound medical advice, find one you can believe is competent.

You are making eating a battleground issue with your son and that will only lead to problems. You can't make him eat, and if you persist, he will become motivated to defy whatever you do. He is in charge of what he will eat of the things that are available to him. The only thing you can control is what you make available.

Don't make such an issue of it. Let him eat what he wants of what you prepare and don't push. Let him refuse to eat if he wants, without complaining and criticizing. When he is hungry enough, he'll eat what you have. Keep checking with your pediatrician, and if the pediatrician thinks he is unhealthfully underweight, write back.


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Page last updated Apr 24, 2012

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