photo: andy carter via Flickr

Kids get picky about food. They also get whiny. They may even have a tantrum. So how do you teach them to eat healthy food when all they seem to want is sugar and junk food?

Vivienne Pearson did one simple thing. She let her daughter have a day of eating nothing but what she wanted, and that taught the lesson.

Pearson’s daughter’s 8th birthday fell at the end of a vacation. The family had celebratory breakfast out, where the birthday girl had ice cream on her pancakes. Later, the kids had more ice cream as the adults packed the car. They stopped for a fast-food lunch while driving, visited a friend who served cake as a birthday surprise, then saw another friend, who provided fries and chocolate to add onto the lollipops the kids had in the car. That did it.

Each treat separately could have been okay, but all of them together plus the travelling made the little girl get sick. So sick they had to abandon a looked-forward-to dinner out. When Pearson put it all together, it made sense, and it made sense to her daughter, too.

Now, when Pearson reminds her daughter to eat right, the child knows it’s not just nagging or an abstract idea about being healthy. Experience made her understand the consequences of poor eating, and “of course I will” is her answer.

Would you try this to teach your kids about healthy eating? Tell us in the comments below!