I am a single gay man and earlier this year I moved in with my disabled parents to help them care for my Nephews (7 and 10). I have been very active in their lives and was always aware of their eating habits and just assumed they would grow out of it. They refuse to eat anything outside of Pizza, Chicken Nuggets, French Fries, Ramen, and random snack stuff that is as equally unhealthy. No exaggeration here. I stopped buying this for them but my parents keep giving them candy and buying this stuff.

I tried to make them play outside and they would stand in the street crying. Eventually we agreed on inside Youtube workout videos but we went to McDonald's and one was trying to order a 20 piece chicken nugget happy meal. Sometimes they do not each lunch at school because it is not pizza or chicken nuggets and last week both ate an entire box of pizza rolls (140) each and within three days after going to grocery. I was finally able to talk them into trying yogurt but they stopped eating it once they realized bits of strawberry were inside.

I have not at any point tried to make them feel fat or tried shaming them about their appearance. I have only communicated we need to eat more healthy, myself included. My oldest Nephew has started to wear a medium hooded pull over to school and we live in the South and it is very hot here still but he says it is not for any reason other than he likes and I just know he is made fun of so he is trying to hide his weight from others.

I do not have kids but I have stepped into this parenting role as best as I can, waking up at 6:00 am and homework and such I had no idea how hard this can be so hats off to all of you here because this is not easy but I've tried everything I can think of to get them eating more healthy. Please help.


1 Answer 1


First, don't fall into the trap that healthy food has to taste like rubbish. Pizza is actually quite healthy. It's vegetables, meats, and dairy served on a flatbed. A complete balanced meal.

Ramen, served up like in Japan, can be healthy too. Use a hearty real vegetable and/or meat broth, vegetables, real meat topping, and slide up a boiled egg on top. https://media.timeout.com/images/102042369/630/472/image.jpg

Unfortunately, kids don't play outside like they used to. The advent of helicopter parenting and CPS being called on parents for letting their 11year old play in their own yard, coupled with the proliferation of virtual entertainment means that (in the USA) kids put outside without planning have nothing to do and no one to do it with. I like to think of myself as a free range parent, but if my son goes out alone he has no one to play with and comes back inside almost immediately.

First, you will have to convince your parents to reserve treats for special occasions. Treats become special because they are rare.

Second, let the treats run out. As the treats and snack foods are consumed, don't replace them. Note, this only works if you have buy in from your parents. Buy snack foods on occasion, but don't replace them until your think it's time for a treat. It sounds like it wouldn't hurt them to fast for a few days if they get stubborn. When a meal at a homeless shelter is described as being "not even as good as a school lunch", I wouldn't take it to badly that they refuse to eat the school lunches. Watch https://vimeo.com/43793321 .

Third, keep the kitchen stocked with good foods - good as in both tasty and healthy. Believe it or not, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be a healthy snack. Peanut butter is high in protein for a plant dish, and a good jelly was the nearest thing to fresh fruits that our recent ancestors had for most of the year. Start with jellies, them move to jams and preserves. Normal healthy kids won't starve if there's a will stocked kitchen.

If there's a trampoline franchise such as Jump Zone close to you, check out whether you can get a monthly rate. Trampolining is a good full body exercise, and kids don't think they're exercising when they're doing it. It doesn't have to be competitive, so there is no disadvantage like for other sports for starting out a little "fluffy". As regular patrons, they will shortly begin to pick up new friends.

  • I really appreciate the feedback just would like to clarify if a frozen pizza/roll made it past them that had vegetables on it then it would go directly into the garbage once they discovered something other than cheese, sauce, and meat. They do not eat PB&J, I have tried. I went to school there and would often eat lunch with their older brother when he was there. I am understanding that if I just stopped buying the junk food and gave them only healthy alternatives would be okay? I worried that would be something frowned upon. Again, thanks for the input.
    – Nathan
    Aug 26, 2018 at 1:47
  • Even the sauce is vegetable (tomato, onion, spices), so IMHO pizza is not so bad. However, advice from a random stranger on the internet saying "it's okay" is not much of a recommendation, when I suspect the hardest battle will be with their grandparents.
    – pojo-guy
    Aug 26, 2018 at 2:52
  • 3
    You might try making fresh pizzas with them. And try watching Master Chef Junior without mentioning that it's part of your nefarious scheme to make them eat healthy. Watching kids competing at making world class food for fun may influence them into trying new things.
    – pojo-guy
    Aug 26, 2018 at 2:55
  • That is a great idea, thank you. Yes, my Mother is a non-compliant diabetic and she is always snacking and has a selection of candy that would no doubt get a nod from Wonka himself.
    – Nathan
    Aug 26, 2018 at 3:13
  • "CPS being called on parents for letting their 11year old play in their own yard" what do you mean by that, can you elaborate a little bit more on this? Nov 6, 2018 at 10:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .