I fully agree that it is bad to send your kids out to of the kitchen. The best thing you can do is to cook healthy meals and let your children join if they want to.
Pressuring them to take a bite: My experience is not that this is a bad thing. My oldest son is really picky with food. He became worse and worse until we decided we had to do something about it. So we had a family meeting where we, together, setup these rules:
Everyone has to try one bite of everything.
Each person can have one type of food that they don’t like and therefore don’t need to try.
Hot food is excluded.
This has made a great difference for all my kids but especially for my oldest son. After he’s tried new foods a couple of times he usually wants to take more than just one bite of it. He’s eating better and he learning to try new things.
When it comes to keeping “good stuff” out of reach for your kids I think it is very much a matter of age and maturity. You can not expect a hungry 3 year old ask for food if there is a whole plate of cookies on the table in front of him. What I do find important is to inform kids about food. I would NEVER say to my child “if you eat that you get fat”. But what I do say is:
Eating a lot of candy or sugar is bad for your teeth.
Vegetables are good for you.
XXXX are not good food so we only eat that once a week.
My boys often ask what food that is good if they want to run faster, or become stronger or become better at ice hockey. And I always come up with some vegetable. For the moment they love spinach.
I agree that you should not Diet in Front of Your Children and let them know why. You can of course follow a healthy diet plan but you have to think of what you tell your child. You want you child to have a healthy relationship with food. When it comes to powder diets and similar these are diets that no one should follow. And you should definitely never do that in front of your child.
Serving Boring Vegetables: I must admit I hate tasteless steamed vegetables. Most vegetables are great raw. When I start cooking I usually cut some raw veggies and put on the kitchen table. By the time that dinner is ready my kids have finished the vegetables. For them it’s like a treat and I happy because I know that they have already eaten the most important food.
For both ourselves and our children we should not give up serving healthy foods. One of the most important gift you can give to your child are healthy eating habits.