Things that happen over and over again become the basis for habits. We seem to adopt habits from a very early age, so, parents, the time to help your children establish good eating and drinking habits is when they are very young!
The child-rearing advice books all warn us not to introduce anything to children that we would not want to become a habit. Bad eating and drinking habits fall into this same category. Don’t even start, or, when you do give your children a “treat”, make sure that they understand that it is a treat, not something we do every day. It’s fine to have an ice cream cone on a warm summer day, but we don’t eat ice cream every night for dessert!
Even bad habits can be changed, and if you have the will power to devote 13 days to the changing, you are much more likely to succeed.
That is, it takes approximately 13 days for bodies to register and adopt a change in eating habits. It is important that you provide the alternative for 13 full days, by which time your children’s bodies register that this is the new norm and the old stuff doesn’t taste as good as it used to. Remove an unwanted food for 13 days and provide a healthier substitute. Go longer if you can. Eventually, the expectation for the less-healthy food will fade, and kids will become accustomed to the replacement.
See if it works for you. The trick, of course, is getting through the first few days.
You can provide lots of justifications. One of the most productive for us was “we just can’t afford it”, when reasoning why we aren’t buying the juice boxes or other unhealthy alternative. “There is no more left,” works for really little kids who may not yet realize that it’s a simple matter to get some more at the store.