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Ask An Expert: Giving Picky Eaters Healthy Food

Watching his own grandmother go from being wheelchair bound to walking inspired Dr. Michael Greger to pursue a career in medicine. Grandma Frances Greger changed her diet to a plant-based one and lived to see all of her grandchildren become adults.
Dr. Michael Greger (Courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger)

Dr. Michael Greger
Humane Society of the United States
700 Professional Dr.
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
(301) 258-3100

Dr. Greger is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. He is also the founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He is a physician, author and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety and public health issues. He has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, testified before Congress, appeared on "The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Colbert Report," and was an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the "meat defamation" trial. Currently, Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States and the founder of, a nutrition information website with hundreds of videos available for free.

Get Rid Of The Junk and Offer Healthy Snacks 
If it isn't in the house, children and their parents are less likely to indulge in unhealthy foods. Empty-calorie foods like sugary beverages and highly processed foods don't provide the nutrition necessary for growing children. All these items do is contribute to childhood obesity. In regards to after-school snacks, instead of greasy potato chips, have a tray of freshly cut vegetables and fruits in the refrigerator ready to go.
organic food
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Leave The "Clean The Plate" Club Teach your children to listen to their natural hunger and fullness cues. Overeating just to clean a plate does not save children in some other country. It just produces unnecessary feelings of guilt and encourages overeating, which leads to obesity. If your child doesn't want to finish his or her meal now, wrap it up and save it for later for when the child is hungry. Promising dessert as a reward only encourages overeating and makes unhealthy foods appear more desirable.

Teach The Value Of Good Nutrition Children follow the cues of their parents, grandparents and care givers. Teach that food is fuel for health and fitness instead of a tool for comfort or to relieve boredom. The sooner that children learns that good nutrition equals good health, the better off they will be. They are less likely to develop chronic food-related diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer and obesity when they follow a whole foods, plant-based diet.Related: Best Kids Martial Arts Classes In DFW

Involve Your Children In Shopping And Food PreparationFun outdoor activities like going to the Dallas Farmers Market and shopping for fresh produce is a good way to introduce healthy foods. Even tending to a small garden at home or in your community will open your child to the wonder of how food is grown. Invite your children to participate in menu planning and cooking. Small children can wash produce and put pre-cut or measured ingredients and stir items in a bowl. These experiential lessons will go a long way in building healthy habits.
Eating Healthy At RestaurantsWith everybody pressed for time, oftentimes dinner comes in a bag from a fast food restaurant. The kid's menu at many fast food restaurants is not the healthiest option. Burritos, salads or rice and veggie bowls are healthful options. When dining at a restaurant, look at the healthy adult options for your children; you can ask for a take-home container for the portion that your child does not eat.
Drink Water Milk is not a health food unless it is a plant-based milk like soy, almond, rice or oat. Cows' milk is made for baby cows, not baby humans. Water is the beverage designed for all matter to grow. Drinking water on a regular basis is vital for cognitive performance in children and adults.Related: Best Kids Art Classes In DFW
Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at 


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