When It's Time to Eat, Eat
Talking is fine—even encouraged—at mealtimes. Just make sure your kids sit down to eat at the table or breakfast bar, not in front of the TV or while playing Wii, and that they aren't absentmindedly snacking while doing something else like coloring. It's too easy to lose track of what's going in the mouth.
Bite Your Tongue
Never say, "Clean your plate." Don't force your child to eat. Left alone, most kids self-regulate and will eat when they need to.
Don't Use Food as a Reward
You don't want kids to learn to eat when they're not hungry.
Be a Brilliant Role Model
If you curl up with a bag of buttered popcorn to watch TV, your child will imitate you in a heartbeat.
If your child wants an ice cream cone, go for it. But get a small or kid-size portion, not four scoops. Nobody—and that includes you and me—needs that.
Kids shouldn't eat an entire steak or a double hamburger, or think meals are all about the meat. Offers big sides of veggies and fruits.
Get Rid of Sweet Drinks
They have zero nutrition. Make your house a no-soda zone—your dentist will adore you—and I'd nix energy drinks too. Serve water or nonfat milk with meals instead.
In our house, it's a once-in-a-while event. But we do have healthy snacks after dinner, like watermelon.
Does your child already have a food addiction? It's not too late to help