Brady, Kyle, Michael, Casey and Colin


I have the privileged of being the father to four great sons.  I’m experience tested!

Step #1: Don’t have junk food in the house

How many times have you told your kids, “You can’t have candy (or cookies, chips, soda or ice cream)!” How about this; just don’t have any of these temptations in the house. Save the bad sweets for special occasions and outings.

When your kids are hungry they eat whatever is in the house. Have in your home all the time: fresh fruit, a fruit salad, carrot and celery sticks with a low-fat dip, homemade quick breads and muffins made with the herbal sweetener stevia instead of sugar, soy milk, 100 percent fruit juices and water.

Stevia is a wonderful herb from South America that is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and helps to stabilize blood-sugar levels.

Throw everything out that contains sugar. Check the labels carefully. You may be shocked by how many foods have sugar in them.

Reduce your kids consumption of dairy products, particularly milk, which produces mucus and is high in saturated fat. Switch to low-fat milk and if possible wean them away from milk completely.

Step #2: Ban all sodas; regular and diet

What ever happened to the time that water is what all of us drank when we were thirsty? Kids get dehydrated just like adults and maybe even more because they are more active.

Soda is bad! The carbonation acts to suppress a child’s immune system for up to 24 hours by blocking the ability of calcium to do its part in delivering to the body the needed nutrients. Soda also is a diuretic to purge good water out of our system causing your child to become even more thirsty and you a higher soda food bill.

According to Tony O’Donnell, “Recent research found that heavy diet soda consumption may cause insulin resistance, a condition that leads to diabetes if untreated. Diet soda fools your brain into thinking it really contains sugar. Your brain releases a flood of insulin into the bloodstream to deal with an onslaught of “sugar” that never comes. Eventually the body starts resisting the message of insulin to burn sugar for energy.”

Step #3: Buy food with the lowest level of pesticide residues

Many of the foods that your children eat are contaminated with unsafe levels of pesticide residues according to data provided by the Environmental Working Group and by Consumers Union.

If you can afford organic food, then buy it over other food. The U.S. has the highest organic standard in the world, i.e., anything labeled “organic” must have 95% organically produced ingredients.

Lowest Pesticide Residues Highest Pesticide Residues
Asparagus Apples
Avocados Grapes
Bananas Green beans
Broccoli Peaches
Canned peaches Pears
Canned or frozen peas Spinach
Canned or frozen corn Winter squash
Orange juice
Apple juice
Grape juice

Wash all fruits and vegetables with mild dish soap and a vegetable scrub brush.

Serve a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables so you’re not constantly eating food with high pesticide residues.

Many believe you should never feed commercial baby food to infants aged 6 to 12 months. It is the dominate source of unsafe levels of pesticides in food. Everyday about 77,000 infants are exposed to unsafe levels of pesticides in baby food preparations of apple juice, apple, sauce, pears, and peaches.

Select meats raised without antibiotics. Otherwise, you’re probably exposing your family to a deadly food poison called salmonella. Farmers give antibiotics to healthy animals to protect them from diseases that can quickly spread through a facility and infect hundreds or thousands of animals. This increases the odds though that bacteria on meat will develop resistance to antibiotics used to treat food poisoning in people recent studies have shown.

Step #4: Quit bribing your finicky kid to eat

Never try to force or bribe your child to eat. Offer them food and when they have had enough, take it away. Two or three bites of a vegteable can be “enough” for a 6-year old. Kids are small, and so are their stomachs.

Picky eating isn’t a chemical imbalance, it’s a behavior. Don’t you still turn your nose up at certain foods? It often develops as a result of trying to please (cajole, bribe, beg, etc.) your children at mealtimes.

Get foods they really like. Duh! If your 8-year old will only eat broccoli and creamed corn, then feed them broccoli and creamed corn at every meal.

Tell them they get dessert if they finish their meal.

Give them very small portions that are proportional to them, so they eat what they want to before they can go on to their favorite foods.

Give them a time limit; they must finish eating by the time the rest of the family does, or they don’t get dessert.

Step # 5: Exercise as a family

Movement is a blissful thing for everyone. Exercising as a family is fun and healthy at the same time. You may enjoy the benefits as well; better health and relationship with your kids.

Nearly half of young people aged 12 to 21 are not vigorously active on a regular basis. Inactive kids are likely to become inactive adults.

According to the American Heart Association every child over 5 should get good cardio respiratory (heart and lung) fitness:

  • 30 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity activities daily.
  • 30 minutes of vigorous physical activities at least three to four days each week.
  • If 30-minute activity breaks aren’t possible, at least two 15-minute periods or three 10-minute periods

One of the best ways to make this happen are nightly 30 to 60 minutes family walks. At first your family may resist but over time they’ll enjoy being all together.

Step #6: Change your diet, but don’t put your child on one

Restricting your child’s calories often backfires and may be dangerous for a growing child. Remember your goal-to slow their weight gain and let them grow into their weight.

Think in terms of adding items to their diet. A healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables that also reduces dietary fat is the easiest to change. Add fruit, subtract cookies.

Move the family focus away from food. Eliminate between-meal unhealthy snacking.

Choose fiber-rich breakfast cereals and have plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables on hand to make sure your kids get enough fiber in their diet.

Step #7: Give your child unconditional love and support

No matter how much they weight, let them know they’re a good person. Building self esteem will last a lifetime and will lead your child into adulthood as a positive person who can believe they can conquer the world and themselves.

About the Author Michael Lantz (Big Papa)

The Wellness Warrior™; Health & Leadership/Business Coach, Speaker, Blogger, Author, Ironman Triathlete Helping others live with more health and joy, paying for their dreams and make a difference in the world! Learn more:


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