The no-fail ways to getting your kids (and you!) to cut back on junk food

It’s important to teach your kids about healthy eating. Too much of the wrong types of foods puts kids at risk for developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Still, we know it’s easier said than done—for both of you. Kids love sugary snacks, and adults can’t help but munch along with them. But having a healthier household is possible! Remember: Setting healthy habits starts with you, so here are five tips to help you and your kids say goodbye to junk food.

1. Start small.

If you try to radically change your kids’ eating habits overnight, it just won’t happen. Instead, take baby steps. Identify one unhealthy habit—say, eating too much candy—and focus on that first. Slowly wean them off candy, replacing it with healthier options, and then move to the next habit. Because the change is gradual, they’ll get used to their new diet without even realizing it.

2. Stop buying junk food.

The best way to kick the junk food habit is to stop buying it, and to bring home healthy options in its place. Not having junk food around eliminates the temptation of eating it, period. The kids may protest at first, but once they realize junk food is no longer option because it’s not in the house, they’ll seek out the healthy snacks instead and learn to stick with them.

3. Find better-for-you alternatives that are still delicious.

Kids don’t automatically associate “healthy” with “yummy.” But if you show them that there are plenty of better-for-you options that are still tasty and fun to eat, they’ll be more likely to be on board.

One of our favorite snack alternatives is Capri Sun Organic. Not only is it a certified USDA organic juice drink, but it also provides 1/2 cup of fruit juice, which is one serving of fruit according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Your kids will love flavors like Apple, Grape, Fruit Punch, and Tropical Punch. Pick some up on your next trip to Walmart!

4. Make nutritious snacks more fun to eat.

If you’re cutting up an apple for snack, add a side of almond butter. Serving veggie sticks? Bring out the hummus. Healthy dips are easy ways to add appeal to simple but healthy choices. Your kids will be requesting them before you know it.

5. Don’t ban junk food altogether.

It might sound counterproductive, but not eliminating junk food altogether actually can work. When salty and sweet snacks are banned, they become even more desirable. If your kiddos are going to a birthday party, let them enjoy pizza and ice cream with the rest of the group. If you’re going to the movies, don’t outlaw popcorn. If you teach them that enjoying junk food in moderation is okay sometimes, they’ll be less likely to binge when given the opportunity.