7 Tips for Easily Transitioning Your Kids Diet


We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

We're diving into another 4 part series focusing on brain health.

We're diving into part 1 here, following with:
1. 6 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants (this video)
2. 7 Tips to Make Eating Healthy Fun For Kids
3. 7 Tips for Easily Transitioning Your Kids Diet
4. Eating Healthy: Simple and Quick Dishes to Make at Home

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:00):
Hey, everybody. I'm Doctor Oubre. This is-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:02):
I'm Aubree.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:03):
And we are going to be talking today about how to transition your kids into healthier foods, because we all know that is an art and very difficult to do.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:11):
Yes.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:11):
Kids are terrorists and they're difficult to negotiate with. And so we're going to go through... How many tips do we have? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven tips-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:19):
Seven tips.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:20):
On how to make foods healthier, or get your kids to eat healthier food without saying the words "healthy" as we learned in the last video.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:27):
Yes.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:27):
Because kids don't like the word "healthy."

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:28):
No, they don't.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:29):
So I've had a lot of luck with my kids. I'm pretty impressed with how my kids eat. They are not perfect by any means.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:35):
They are so good, though.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:35):
Right. So if we can teach our kids young how to eat healthy and what healthy looks like, then they're much more likely to follow it as they get older.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:43):
So, my first tip to getting your kids to eat healthier is never use food as punishment. Never, ever, ever-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:51):
Ever.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:51):
Use food as punishment. So the way I do it is, tip number two is: always use a reward.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:57):
Yes.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:57):
Okay?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:57):
Kids love rewards.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:58):
So... Absolutely.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:59):
We do.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:59):
And then that's going to... We're going to wrap our first three, actually four, tips into one. Tip number three is use low goals for achievement so that they feel like, "Congratulations-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:09):
"I did this."

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:09):
"You did it. You took a bite of broccoli. We're so happy." Right?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:13):
Yes. All right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:14):
So, use it as a reward based, low goals for achievement. And then number four is never, ever negotiate with a terrorist. Never, ever negotiate with a terrorist. Okay? So when you said, or when I first started transitioning my kids, I would use something very simple like meals they were already used to that me as a dad was making and not that proud of, but I was feeding my kids that way. Right?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:36):
Yes. Cooked.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:36):
And then I did one thing. Okay. And that was added a tomato to their plate.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:41):
Brilliant.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:41):
Just really simple, added a tomato. "If you eat said tomato, then you get said reward."

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:46):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:46):
And the reward in the long run has really changed over time for us. Their reward is-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:51):
How much fruit?

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:51):
An apple.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:52):
They love it, too. They're like, "I get my apple for dessert." It's really cute.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:57):
And so they... As you go over time, it's one tomato, then two tomatoes, three tomatoes, right? You're increasing it to where you want them to get. But never, ever change your... Never, ever negotiate with them. So if your rule when they sat down at the dinner table is, "You have to eat three tomatoes to get that reward," and they say "But I ate two. Is this enough?" Never, ever give in-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:20):
Right. Because they'll backslide.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:20):
Because the one time you give in, they realize you're weak and they will always negotiate. Have a very straightforward reward and a very straightforward goal to get there. And the answer is just, "No, you don't if you don't."

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:30):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:31):
And that's okay-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:32):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:32):
Because let's face it, most kids in America are not starving. If they're hungry, then they will eat the food.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:38):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:38):
If they do not want to eat that food, then guess what? They're not that hungry.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:42):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:43):
They're okay.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:43):
They'll eat. Right?

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:44):
Okay. So I'm going to run those again. So, never punishment. Never take away something-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:50):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:51):
Because they didn't eat all the tomatoes.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:52):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:52):
No screen time, because you didn't need eat your tomatoes.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:54):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:55):
No... Well, there's a list of-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:57):
No negativity around it too.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:58):
No.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:59):
Don't shame because shaming is the one thing that's not going to get someone to do something positive. Right? So if it's just... You just make it positive. "Okay, you just don't get this cookie or this paleo cookie, whatever you need, you just don't get it."

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:09):
So always using that as a reward. Number three is really low goals for achievement.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:13):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:14):
And as they achieve those, you can increase it.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:17):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:17):
Number four is never, ever negotiate with terrorists.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:20):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:20):
I learned that the hard way. So the other tip to that is I used to make them a plate and then I'd say, "You got to eat all that." And then I'd go, "Oh, well, if you eat half, I'm happy." And then it ends up like you're settling at a quarter. So the way I do it now is I fix them a small plate that they can overachieve.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:36):
So if they love chicken nuggets and they normally eat six, then only give them two or three and also have the small portion of vegetables.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:43):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:43):
And if they want more chicken nuggets, then they have to eat all the other vegetables before they get filled up on the meat.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:48):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:49):
My daughter's guilty of that. She always goes for the meat first. And then she's like, "Well, I don't want the vegetables." "Well, you should have eaten those first." So always put less of their favorite food on there so that they eat more of the vegetables before they get more of that favorite food.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:02):
Right. And I like the little goals that kind of... The girl that we talked about, TikToK-wise, we love using her as an example. I said, "Let's get an eighth of a cup of vegetables extra." Or a quarter cup, I'm sorry. It was an eighth or a quarter, something very small. And I asked her, I said, "What color do you want?" I said, "What list of veggies? What's a veggie you think you can add? How can we make it fun?"

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:22):
And it was [inaudible 00:04:23]. Just putting the power and control into their hands. It wasn't a lot, but it got them involved. And that night her mom told me she was sitting there Googling "green vegetables."

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:31):
Seeing what-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:31):
She picked avocado, which is a fruit but that was fine with me.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:33):
Yeah.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:34):
I was like, "That's fine."

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:34):
Yeah.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:35):
But yeah, putting that power into their hands with a little bit of amount. I said, "An eighth of a veggie, that's it for one week, maybe. Let's see how long you can do that." And then they feel excited and they're like, "I did the goal. I got this." So...

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:47):
Another thing you can do is try different... Kids are very textural eaters.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:51):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:51):
And so you may be surprised at a food you like, like bell peppers. I never really ate bell peppers raw before. My kids will eat bell peppers raw all day long. And then little like French fries, that long.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:02):
Crunchy.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:02):
Yeah. They're crunchy. They're tasty. But the second you cook it, they will never... They will not put it in their mouth. They will not eat it at all.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:09):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:10):
So make sure you're experimenting with your kids with both raw food, cooked food, slightly cooked food, and seeing which ones they like better, right? Maybe they like the crunchy broccoli. Maybe they don't like it so soft that you steamed it to smithereens and it melts in their mouth.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:22):
No-one likes that. Sorry but just cook a little bit better.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:29):
Al dente. Just a little crunch to it. One of my favorite tips that really got me successfully eating, the kids eating vegetables, was hide the vegetables.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:39):
Yeah, this is a good... Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:40):
That's my favorite one. So one of the things I love doing. Get a food processor and blend cabbage, blend onions, blend bell peppers, blend whatever you want. And if you cook any kind of ground meat with any kind of spice, if you blend it far enough, the kids won't even know it's there.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:53):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:54):
So my favorite one is tacos. The kids love tacos. I mean, who doesn't love tacos? We're in Texas. And so I'll take a pound of ground meat, but the majority of my taco meat-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:03):
Is actually vegetables.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:03):
Is actually cabbage.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:04):
Yeah. It is. But it looks like it's the same consistency-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:08):
Right?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:08):
And you can slowly increase that over time. Right-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:09):
Yes, I did.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:09):
Because where do you change-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:10):
It started with a little bit-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:10):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:11):
Now it's like 70% cabbage.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:12):
Yeah. And then the same thing with meatloaf, right? So put a little bit of zucchini is really good to put in there. A little bit of cabbage, other things like that. And then you slowly increase it over time. They're in your favorite dishes.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:23):
Instead of spaghetti noodles using spaghetti squash. Now that's a tougher transition.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:27):
That sounds [crosstalk 00:06:28].

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:27):
Some kids can't make that transition quickly, but maybe you get to do a little sample where they have a little sample with their regular spaghetti sauce on it and their regular spaghetti noodles. And just trying to encourage kids to switch because my kids now eat spaghetti squash noodles, and they don't like it as much as the noodles, but they-

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:44):
They'll eat it.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:44):
Don't have a choice, so...

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:45):
And that comes to the next point, transition one thing at a time.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:48):
Yeah.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:48):
So let's say for spaghetti, then all of a sudden you can go to, well, I'm going to get the chickpeas or I'm going to get the cassava noodles next, right? I'm going to go with the gluten-free option and you do it really slowly. So you pick one thing at a time to transition. So let's say if it's goldfish, let's say, if you're your kids totally on the standard American diet, then your next step would be the Annie's organic not gluten-free goldfish, right? So you make a step healthier to organic and clean ingredients. Then you go gluten free. Then you start to go to the paleo version of it, whatever, like Simple Mills. And you slowly start to do that with one thing over time so it's not this huge transition of like, "Hey, I'm switching all your food over now." They're going to spit it out. Think about adults. That's what they do with us. They're like, "I'm done." I'm like, "It was one dish."

Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:31):
But slowly one transition over time, they'll get used to it. My best friend in the entire world did this with her kids and her kids eat so healthy now. And they were going from like drinking soda and not eating very well. You did the best you can. No one knew at the time. And now her kids are just eating so clean, tons of veggies. They love being a part of the process. She's incredible mom. She was able to do that. So don't think that you can't, basically.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:57):
Last but not least, your kids have to be hungry in order to eat new and different foods. So the number one mistake I see people doing is feeding their kids snacks. We're all guilty. Kids are always... They always have snacks around it.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:08):
Always.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (08:09):
I'm always at the daycare picking kids up my kids up around 5:30 and I see other parents bringing snacks. I'm like, "Dinner time is probably after you get home from daycare. Yeah. And so if you're already feeding them a snack, they're really not going to be that hungry. And if you're not that hungry and adults are guilty of it too. How many times we'd come home while making a meal we'll we'll snack on something. And then you're less likely to as many vegetables and things, right? So same rule goes for kids. If your kid isn't willing to try new foods, they're not hungry enough. And so that sounds terrible. And as a parent, there's some sort of carnal nature like, oh, my kid's hungry. It is, it is a painful feeling to know your kid's hungry,

Speaker 4 (08:43):
Whether there'll be fine. Yeah. That'd be fine.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (08:45):
We've all been hungry at some point in our life.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:47):
Right.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (08:47):
And here we are alive. So if your kid isn't willing to try new foods, then stop giving them snacks and don't give them too much food. Make sure hours between meals and snacks and then always have that reward afterwards. So if they're not eating the vegetables, I'll say it again, they're not hungry enough.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:05):
Right. Agreed.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:06):
So your kids can do it. They are incredibly resilient and they adapt and change quicker than adults do. So give your kid more credit, believe in them, make it a fun experience and use those tips we just talked about, and you can do it.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:18):
Yeah. And it's not going to be easy, to be honest with you. It's not going to be quick, it's not going to be easy. But just try as hard as you can. We see grown adults who literally... I've had them cry in my office about removing foods. Because a lot of these foods, especially if you are a standard American diet, there's chemicals in them that do make them dependent on that food. Sugar makes them addicted to food.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:36):
So you can have a little bit of a shift and you can have the screaming and the crying. I did it when I was a kid. I just locked myself in my room. I was like, "No!" But they will change. And you just have to keep going with love and excitement and make it fun. And then don't punish them when they're doing that.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:51):
No. Lead by example.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:52):
Yes.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:53):
So as parents and adults, if you want to learn more, we have courses online.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:56):
We do.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:57):
We have a nutrition course and a grocery store tour in order to help you learn more about your nutrition and how to shop correctly and what to buy, what to get and all that jazz.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:05):
Yeah.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (10:05):
So go to our website, look up our courses and consider taking some of the courses to learn more so that you can help both you and your children.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:12):
Agreed.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (10:13):
And subscribe to our channel, like us, follow us, and we'll see you next time.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:16):
Okay. Bye, guys.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (10:17):
Bye.


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published