If I had to teach my daughter only one eating habit it wouldn’t be to eat vegetables.

I say that even though my daughter is a vegan (read my not-so-happy-thoughts-about-that),  If I had to teach my daughter only one habit it would be not to overeat. Overeating is a very difficult habit to break. Much more difficult than not eating veggies.

I know it may sound a little sacrilegious to say this, and yes I agree that vegetable-eating is important, but there are more important things to teach kids. Especially when sometimes the techniques we use to teach kids—or more accurately, to try to teach kids—to eat vegetables often backfire.

Bribing kids to eat broccoli by promising them brownies makes them love brownies and broccoli? Not So much. Read the problem of trading peas for pie.

My Top 10 list of Habits More Important than Eating Veggies.

1) Save room for dessert instead of eating ‘til you’re stuffed.

2) Eat a variety of foods every day and from day-to-day (even if that variety doesn’t include veggies.)

3) Select foods in proportion to their healthful benefits, by keeping moderate and junky fare in check.

4) Avoid emotional eating.

5) Practice proper table manners.

6) Develop a strategy to survive parties, buffets and even Main Street without overeating.

7) Practice proper snacking.

8) Avoid drinking empty or unnecessary calories.

9) Eat without guilt.

10) Plan for parties and holiday eating by “priming the pump” with healthy foods first.

The added bonus of reinforcing these habits? Your kids will eat more veggies.

(It’s one of the great ironies of parenting that you can’t always attack a problem head on.)

~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits. ~