Kids hate the new school lunch program. Or at least enough kids are being vocal about hating the changes to cause concern.

You’ve probably seen (or at least heard about) the video made by Kansas kids who claim to be starving.

I hope you’ve seen Jon Stewart’s hilarious response to the situation. The gist of it is this: If you’re hungry, eat!

My response to the situation has been somewhat tamer, and a lot less entertaining.

In Eat Like a Linebacker, Get Fat Like a Likebacker on The Huffington Post, I argue that the feeling that kids need more food isn’t restricted to the Kansas kids.

Americans are consumed with calories. But when it comes to kids, the relationship is backwards: Instead of worrying that kids are eating too many calories, we worry that kids aren’t eating enough.

In fact, I recently conducted an Internet survey in preparation for my new online classes—which start on Monday, by the way—and topping the list of parental concerns was getting kids to eat more food, especially getting them to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Register for the first online class. It’s FREE and you’ll never have to utter the words, “Just try it, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it.”

We shouldn’t be surprised that when we spend the first years of our kids’ lives telling them to eat more that they have to spend the rest of their lives figuring out how to eat less.

I’ve made the argument before that our culture of nutrition is part of the reason parents inadvertently teach their kids to overeat: The pressure to get the right nutrients into kids is enormous, and because there’s no way of measuring nutrient consumption, parents feel compelled to push ever more food into their kids” mouths. Pediatricians even sometimes make the situation worse.

Then, in Teaching Kids to Hate the Healthy Stuff, posted on Psychology Today, I argue:

If we ever needed proof that nutrition isn’t the right paradigm for teaching kids to eat right, here it is. After years of accepting school lunches that are laden with sugar, salt and fat because they contain just enough of the right nutrients—chicken nuggets=protein, chocolate milk=calcium, pizza=vegetables—schools are trying to change the way kids eat. The kids aren’t having it, and I’m not surprised.

We can’t feed to our kids’ taste preferences, exposing kids to a certain type of eating experience, and then expect them to accept change without at least a bit of a backlash. 

Our goal has to change from “getting” nutrients into kids—a coercive way of thinking about the job at best—to teaching kids how to eat right.

Get the tools you need in my new ONLINE courses, starting Monday October 15th. (Have I plugged them enough?)

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~