You know the scene. You cooked dinner. The kids refuse to eat it. 20 minutes later they say they are hungry.
What do you do?
You decide to stay strong. You remind them that they just refused dinner twenty minutes ago because they weren't hungry. This seems to work.
For a minute. Then the whining starts. But I'm reeeaaaaallllly hungry. You think you can shake it off. Its only mildly aggravating so far.
But dammit now both of them are going at it, together, like a duet - only awful. You are the only adult in the house. There is no one to back you up on your tough stance. Feet start stomping. It's too much. So you throw them some sorry excuse for food like string cheese or some crackers because you literally don't even have the mental energy to slice up an apple for them.
And THIS is where it all starts. The slippery slope.
One of the absolute best habits you can instill in a child is the idea that once dinner is done (and they are no longer hungry) and the plates are cleared from the table... there is no more food until breakfast the next day*. A lot of weight-loss research shows that adults who make a habit of eating in those hours after dinner but before bed are much more likely to gain weight. So it makes sense that the best way to avoid weight gain is to focus on that time of day as being most problematic. And it has to start when they are young.
And here's the thing. They might be a little hungry that night. They are not going to starve to death. Really. They might groan and grumble about it and drive you nuts but they really are not going to starve. Stick it out for that night and let them know you mean business. Pretty sure they will eat dinner the next night. Have you tried this strategy? Let me know what works for you!
*Of course this does depend on the time you eat dinner!