Kids follow your example. Plain and simple. If you eat a lot of snacks after dinner, they will do the same. If you hide food, they will sneak food. If you eat a lot of fast food, they will eat a lot of fast food.
We are very fortunate to have two girls that eat very well. One is our veggie girl and the other our meat girl. But they will both eat a wide array of foods. Our oldest will want an apple for her "treat". In fact we once caught her eating carrots in the middle of the night. Our youngest has more of a sweet tooth. For my birthday she had two pieces of cake.
As you know, for awhile we were eating out pretty much every day. The girls ate it for awhile, but then we noticed that they weren't eating the nuggets or hamburgers we got for them. Once we started our new plan of eating at home all but one day meal, they have started eating again. Now when we have the occasional treat, they will eat it up.
There was a time when my husband would buy a bag of candy bars on the way home from picking the girls up from school. The girls were constantly buzzing on candy. They expected to have it every day. When we put a ban on it, there was a bit of complaining and culture shock. Now they are used to it being a special treat every now and then.
One thing we have to work on is soda. Growing up, Sarah never had soda. She didn't have her first sip until she was about 5. We would let her have some when we went to the movies. But that was it. If we had a soda sitting on the side table, she wouldn't ask for it or touch it at all.
Bekah is, of course, a different story. She was at home (versus Sarah in daycare) most of her life. Daddy drinks a lot of soda. She would see this and once she was able, she would steal his soda. Once she started stealing the soda, her sister started expecting it too. This is where we have a huge problem. We went from the one child having no soda, to them both drinking way too much for my liking.
I have tried to kick the soda habit. I have never lasted more than a few weeks. Hubby only lasts a day or two. I can limit myself to one a day, but hubby has a major addiction. Sometimes he will have 6 cans in a day. This is where I have a problem.
I have tried not buying soda. But then hubby will buy 20 oz bottles at $1.50 a piece. To save money I end up buying the cans in a 12 or 24 pack on sale. I have a conflict between saving money and trying to limit our soda intake. I don't want my kids drinking soda except once in awhile as a treat. I want my husband to cut down his soda intake, but he is an adult and its his thing. I also end up drinking more thank I should.
I made a decision today. To heck with the past failures. The soda that we have left (a few cans) is all that I am going to buy. We are not going to have it in the house unless we get it as part of our "fast food/pizza" night. It is expensive and it is contributing to our weight gain. Hubby can have his coke, but it has to be purchased with his spending cash. It cannot come into the house, so he can have it at work or while out and about. Same thing goes for me.
The health of our family is way too important.