What "junk food" does your toddler eat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm kind of a health nut, but trying not to be too crazy with my son's diet. Until he was 13 months old, he never had anything but fruits, veggies, whole wheat grains and pastas, some diary and a bit of meat (and tons of breast milk on demand). He's going on 15 months, so I'm trying to loosen up a bit. He's had pizza twice, a few potato chips the other day, and I shared some pieces of black licorice with him today (panda black licorice, just molasses and wheat flour, but that's the only sugar my son has ever had). I kind of don't think such a young toddler needs junky food like that, and would prefer him to continue eating super healthy for as long as possible, but I also don't want to be crazy about it.

So how strict are you about your toddler's diet? What kinds of "junk" foods do you let them eat?

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#2 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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i'm sure i am in the minority but my child has never had anything remotely junk food related. I have made her some organic whole wheat, maple syrup sweetened pumpkin cookies, but they were actually healthy enough to technically be a side dish for a meal, so I don't really count them.

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#3 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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I was really really strict until 12 months. Now my 20 month old eats almost everything I do, except pop (yes I know it's awful). I try to stay away from processed junk food, but I am completely ok with homemade cookies, cakes, etc a few times a week and the occasional (once a week or less) piece of processed junk, ie cookie from the Target bakery.

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#4 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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I'm relaxed about this, my DD and I LOVE to bake

Strawberry lemonade cupcakes, lavender lemon cakes, etc. We normally bake once a week and munch on the stuff throughout -- because it's been unbearably hot, and ice cream is a part of summer she's also had a small scoop a few times a week during the afternoon while we sit outside.

I think balance is key, and we def balance with tons of healthy stuff.

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#5 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 10:52 PM
 
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homemade muffins, cakes, cookies and cupcakes- made with gluten free flour, natural, unprocessed sugar, honey or brown rice syrup, and any milk called for in the recipe is substituted by homemade almond milk. We are GFCFSF here. I also buy the yummyearth lollipops and Sharkies (which I give bits of to dd2). We make frozen treats with juice and/or fruit. That is the worst thing in our diet right now IMO. My juicer broke recently, and organic juice is too much, so we are having Old Orchard brand frozen reconstituted. Dd1 doesn't have much of it, but dd2 drinks about a glass a day (she has sips of mine a few times a day). I would not consider giving any 'regular' candy to my children because they have GMO ingredients (soy and more), HFCS and food colorings. I don't mind them having the occasional organic allergen free candy. This is a good spot to order from I have heard (I don't shop online right now, but they have vegan, allergen and other considerations) http://www.naturalcandystore.com/

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#6 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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Aside from sugar, chocolate, and caffeine, he eats what we eat. That is to say, organic/cage-free/whole grain everything, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, no HFCS or artificial flavors/colors ever, lots of lean protein, natural nut butters, etc.

The junkiest things he gets are organic cereal O's for breakfast and all-natural pretzel sticks as a sometimes snack. I don't believe in giving my child anything I wouldn't eat, and I'm very picky about the quality of my food because eating junk makes me feel physically run-down and terrible.

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#7 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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I'm pretty relaxed with my 13 month old. My diet is not 100% "perfect" and I have zero interest in becoming a hard-core purist or food extremist--I love to cook and eat a wide variety of foods and I feel it's healthiest not to set up a bunch of restrictions for myself or her. When I've tried that in the past, it was disastrous! Overall, I eat more healthily when I don't try to follow a bunch of "rules". Generally she gets tons of fresh fruit, veggies, homemade bread/pancakes/muffins/whatever, quinoa, yogurt, cheese, green smoothies, soy milk... all kinds of good healthy stuff. But if she sees me eating a tortilla chip or a Starbucks cookie and shows interest, I'll give her some. If I have a hot chocolate at a cafe, I let her have some of the foam. She had a chocolate cupcake on her birthday. That kind of thing. Otherwise I feel like I'm setting up an unhealthy double standard. She's no fool--if she saw I had a cookie, I couldn't fake her out by giving her puffed kamut. Believe me, I've tried! (Even before her first taste of cookie!).

We don't have processed food (besides organic tortilla chips, and boxed Mac and Cheese), HFCS, meat (we're mainly veg) or that sort of thing in the house, so she really only gets tastes of those things at other peoples' houses or whatever.

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#8 of 62 Old 06-10-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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Babygirlie, please think carefully about the way you talk about food with your children. I am not assuming anything here, but from your message, it sounds like you might have had issues with food growing up (dieting since eight). If your child eats a cupcake, will they think they will get sick because you call it a "disease food"? Are they going to have lots of guilt if they eat sugar, because they know you will disapprove? I'm not saying this is how you talk with your kids, I'm just asking a question.

I agree that there is no need to give our children junk, although I am in the "most things are ok in small amounts" camp.

DD is 10 months, and she has had the odd piece of homemade cookie, and loves cereal/almond butter/rice syrup balls. She's a big fan of box mac n cheese too, but I've only given her a few bits.
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#9 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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DS is a picky eater and usually eats the exact same things every day.

Breakfast is scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu with whole grain toast with flax seed oil and some sort of nut butter and/or jam.

Lunch is usually some yogurt, some variation on a beans and rice theme and some dried fruit.

Dinner is just a big snack platter with lots of raw nuts, vegetables, fruit and some cheese, nut butter and/or hummus.

Snack gets a little "sloppier." DS loves Annie's Naturals bunny crackers and cereal. DS had some candy at Nana's house while I was gone one day (rare, rare occurrence), so I found some vitamins for little guys that look and taste like candy (DH sneaks them on a regular basis....) so he gets some of those every day. DH drinks coffee constantly so I give DS milk with blackstrap molasses mixed in. It looks like coffee and he loves it, and it's healthy!

I do allow DS to have treats along with us when we have them, but it doesn't happen often. Really, I think we do very well on DS's food. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for when he starts preschool this fall...I hear things get way more complicated when birthday party invitations start rolling in.
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#10 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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It's interesting to see the difference in first time parents/only children and what happens when you have toddlers in the house with older children.

My first didn't have anything remotely junky until she was much older.

Ds has things occasionally now. A taste of ice cream, cake at a party, an oatmeal cookie, a popsicle.

NOT allowing your child to have these things CAN be detrimental if you want them to live in the real world. They are surrounded by children who eat these things and can't learn to enjoy them in moderation if they are forbidden. Talk about setting them up for food struggles.

They've done studies that show that 'sweets' in moderation make for healthier eating habits and attitudes.

I'm sorry but I had to at the idea that giving your kid anything short of health food is child abuse.

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#11 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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NOT allowing your child to have these things CAN be detrimental if you want them to live in the real world. They are surrounded by children who eat these things and can't learn to enjoy them in moderation if they are forbidden. Talk about setting them up for food struggles.
This is how I feel, but my brain is mush and I couldn't get it together enough to write that lol. I'm completely convinced that it will do my kid more damage and set her up for some messed up thinking and food issues if she's always "that kid" who has to eat special food, isn't allowed things other kids have at parties, play dates, etc. I think teaching your kids that in moderation some not healthy food is ok is going to save you a lot of money in eating disorder treatment down the road.

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#12 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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Sugar is not abuse, it's food. Dang. Don't come to my house, you'll have a heart attack. And feel free to call cyf, my caseworker would laugh in your face. And I'm not even remotely close to being fat.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, we do eat junk food. Not tons, but we have a big candy bowl and dd1 eats some chocolate every day. I drink a big glass of strawberry milk almost every morning. We eat pizza once a week, but we don't consider that to be junk food. The popular item at the mo is double stuff oreos. I doubt two or three a day for us adults and one or two for the babe will be the death of us. I am very not interested in fighting w/ my kids over food. Snacky-snacks and candy are pleasures in life that are to be enjoyed, not obsessed over.

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#13 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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Junk food eaters, represent!

Whereas we are far from the SAD my kid has food that would freak the other people in this thread out and I feel very comfortable with that. I keep her away from standard candy but I feel just fine with her having some jelly beans made with completely natural products and no food dyes. I don't care if she has ice cream. She gets cookies and cake every so often (when I'm not too lazy to make them).

My deal is: I don't care if you have sugar as long as it is real sugar. I want you to have real food. My husband was brought up with the kind of diet the rest of you ladies are talking about and I have never met a bigger sugar freak. I was brought up on Snickers and Pepsi for breakfast and I really could care less about having sugar. There is a middle ground here.

My main deal is I don't want food to rule her life and the folks I know who are obsessed with being HEALTHY HEALTHY HEALTHY tend to not be particularly balanced people.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#14 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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We were really strict about processed foods and sugars and other things we don't really consider food. We still are compared to mainstream parenting. But, we went to a birthday party when our dd was just under 2 years old and when all the kids sat down around the table in anticipation for the birthday kid blowing out the candles, we noticed that our dd was very hesitant. And not from a social perspective. She knew she wasn't supposed to have cake and so she was sadly withdrawn. That's when I looked at my dp and said that we needed to loosen up a bit. We let her have some of the cake. We felt we were being too extreme by excluding her from normal social behavior such as celebrating with birthday cake. So at appropriate times and in moderation, 'treats' are now part of our life.

I don't want junk food to become a food group in her diet. But I also don't want to give her a food complex, or a guilt trip. I think teaching balance and moderation is key.

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#15 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:56 AM
 
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My main deal is I don't want food to rule her life and the folks I know who are obsessed with being HEALTHY HEALTHY HEALTHY tend to not be particularly balanced people.
This.

I eat paleo, but I don't force my six-year-old to eat what I eat. I give him healthy choices at home and have weaned him from some of the stuff we used to feed him (this was a big battle between my husband and I until he read Good Calories Bad Calories and started PharmD school), but I have no problem with social junk food eating for him.

At home DS prefers plain organic cream top yogurt with cut fruit for a treat, and knows how to eat lots of different veggies, and is learning to love them. Which is fantastic! People all over the world enjoy sweet treats, be is fresh honey from a hive, or sweet bean cakes or ice cream. The problem isn't the occasional treat, the problem is our daily diet.

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#16 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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My mom and sister own a cake shop. So, yeah, DD gets cake occasionally, though really not as often as you would think given that circumstance.

Ice Cream-I don't usually give her her own dish, but only because I don't want to clean it up. When we have ice cream (and I am pg so having it more than usual) she gets little spoonfulls from ours.

Cookies, brownies, other baked goods, well, we just rarely have them in the house. If there's a smokin' sale and I am craving some, I might pick some up, but for example right now, the only baked goods in the house are the leftovers of DH's birthday cake and a muffin left over from a pack I bought at a charity bake sale while yard saling. Actually that was last Saturday, so I should probably pitch that.

Now, junky "meal" food, like hot dogs, processed side dishes etc, that's different. We do probably eat more of that stuff than we should. I would say she gets that stuff probably once or twice a week. We grilled for DH's birthday party, so she had a hot dog with that. And Monday, we spent the ENTIRE DAY in the car, from 8:30am, to 5pm when I headed to work, so she unfortunately got fast food that day. But other than that, this week has been mostly me cooking, fresh veggies, chicken breasts, ham etc. I am trying to improve the frequency of the fresh veggie and real meats cooking, but it's hard sometimes between costs, me working part time in the evenings over dinnner and being pg with an 18 month old running around, not to mention a teen who has several of her own commitments.


The idea that giving sugar is child abuse? Um, wow, judgemental much? Sugar and processed foods are unfortunately a part of our world. They are a part of the world that children will grow up in. Never allowing children exposure to those things does not allow them to learn how to deal with them properly. Children learn best through experience and if they never experience exposure to those foods that are a part of the world they have entered, they won't best learn how to handle those foods. It's a recipe for eating disorders and self esteem issues.

(But then again, I am one who has issues with the legal drinking age and can't help but wonder if Europe isn't onto something in that respect)
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#17 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 01:26 AM
 
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Eating cake = playing with a gun
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#18 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 01:43 AM
 
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My kids get a modest amount of sugar, but they have to fill their bellies first with good, healthy, food. They still eat hot dogs when we go camping or at bbqs. I still let them eat cake and icecream at birthday parties. I even buy the occasional take-out pizza, but the majority of their meals and snacks are balanced and healthy.

Baby girlie, there are lots of foods commonly believed to be healthy that have a lot of sugar in them. For example, cow's milk has a ton of sugar in it. White rice cereal is essentially refined sugar. I disagree with everything you said in your post and I believe you should rethink your belief that giving children unhealthy foods is child abuse. Giving a child nothing but junk food would be abusive, yes. The occasional chocolate cupcake or grilled cheese doesn't come close to that.

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#19 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 01:48 AM
 
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My kids get a modest amount of sugar, but they have to fill their bellies first with good, healthy, food. They still eat hot dogs when we go camping or at bbqs. I still let them eat cake and icecream at birthday parties. I even buy the occasional take-out pizza, but the majority of their meals and snacks are balanced and healthy.
This sounds a lot like us, too. Everything in moderation.

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#20 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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We do our best to eat healthfully most of the time so that I don't have to sweat the occasional "treat." I think it's potentially more damaging to be overly controlling about food than it is to have a cookie or and ice cream cone here and there.

I do applaud all the parents here who go out of their way to provide nutritious meals and snacks for their children, despite the pressure to do otherwise.

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#21 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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We do our best to eat healthfully most of the time so that I don't have to sweat the occasional "treat." I think it's potentially more damaging to be overly controlling about food than it is to have a cookie or and ice cream cone here and there.

I do applaud all the parents here who go out of their way to provide nutritious meals and snacks for their children, despite the pressure to do otherwise.

Re: the bold, absolutely!

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#22 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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I was very strict until DD turned one. I got a lot of grief about it from various people, but I didn't want to introduce it so early. Plus I wanted her own first birthday cake to be her first experience with sugar.

Since then it has become very apparent that she has her daddy's sweet tooth. She doesn't get sweets very often, and never in large quantities. But she will get the occasional cookie, or a timbit (donut hole) when we go through the drive-through, or a few spoonfuls of ice cream. Her favourite food in the whole world is marshmallows. She will also have a few chips or pretzels from time to time, but she can take or leave those and much prefers the sweet.

Personally, I would much rather her have a cookie a couple of times a week rather than cup after cup of juice all day long.

I do restrict food dyes after a hyperactive incident following a piece of Spiderman birthday cake with bright red icing. But other than that I try to be relaxed about the whole thing.

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#23 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 02:58 AM
 
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My daughter is 2 now, and we didn't start letting up on the "junk food" rule until she was 1.

She can have a little sweet snack every now and again . . . Cookies, cake, ice cream and all that are saved for special occasions usually, with the exception of a bite when Mommy or (not so much) Daddy is eating something. We don't try to alienate her by eating things in front of her and then telling her she can't have any. We try to keep her away from sugary cereals and things like that because she is already such a picky eater.

She LOVES apples, so we give those to her for little desserts. I think the worst thing she eats daily is juice (fruit) snacks. She loves them and they do have SOME juice in them, so I try not to freak out about them. We also occasionally eat chicken tenders baked in the oven or pizza, but only when we have had a trying day and cooking just isn't an option. lol

Do consider though, she is two, so trying days come in waves!
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#24 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 05:07 AM
 
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My daughter's only real junk food would be the free kid cookies at the bakery department. Sometimes I let her make refrigerated biscuits with marshmallows and chocolate. That doesn't count as junk food because she bakes them herself and I find them completely repulsive. Right?
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#25 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 05:24 AM
 
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Personally, I would much rather her have a cookie a couple of times a week rather than cup after cup of juice all day long.
Yes, I completely agree with this!

And what others said about things in moderation.

I grew up in a very mainstream household and ate processed junk foods regularly, which I realize now was terrible. But my SIL is such a health freak
that she had my young nephew convinced everything had chemicals in it and that he would get all kinds of diseases if he ate anything but organic, whole grain, natural things. Not that I completely disagree with her but I think that it is a form of child abuse to put those extreme notions in your child's head. As a 5yo before he would pick anything up at a family gathering he would ask if it had chemicals in it. What a way for a child to ask for something?!

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#26 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 06:39 AM
 
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I think it's potentially more damaging to be overly controlling about food than it is to have a cookie or and ice cream cone here and there.


We eat a lot of fresh, non-processed food. But yes, we also eat junk food. I don't think a piece of (chocolate, mmmmm) cake on someone's birthday, or icecream on a hot summer day, or even the dreaded McDonald's for a treat is abusive, or likely to set my kids up for a lifetime of obesity and addiction. I'd much rather encourage a healthy attitude to food and the ability to eat in moderation than a black and white attitude. Life is for living, and if we're eating healthy 90% of the time I'm not going to stress about the other 10%.

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#27 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 09:19 AM
 
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We do our best to eat healthfully most of the time so that I don't have to sweat the occasional "treat." I think it's potentially more damaging to be overly controlling about food than it is to have a cookie or and ice cream cone here and there.

I do applaud all the parents here who go out of their way to provide nutritious meals and snacks for their children, despite the pressure to do otherwise.
Yes, yes, yes. I completely agree. We are an "Everything in Moderation" household. My kids eat things that a lot of people here would consider junk food, but when you compare it to the real junk that they could be eating it isn't as bad. If I'm going to buy them a treat I make sure it is a healthier version, so no HFCS and all that jazz. I love to bake so we always have things like cookies, breads or muffins around. We talk about the difference between food you eat all the time and food that is a special treat. I think educating your kids and showing examples of moderation and making smart choices is more effective than forbidding things. But to each their own.
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#28 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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>snip<

NOT allowing your child to have these things CAN be detrimental if you want them to live in the real world. They are surrounded by children who eat these things and can't learn to enjoy them in moderation if they are forbidden. Talk about setting them up for food struggles.

>snip<
I've seen this argument a lot and I don't buy it. Wouldn't it follow then that children of vegetarians would have an unhealthy infatuation with meat?

In my family, we don't eat refined sugar or junk food, just like in a vegetarian household, they don't eat animals. We have just a strong belief system as a vegetarian family, and I don't think that the mamas here would dare tell a vegetarian family that they should give their kiddo meat, kwim?

Mama to E (12/07) and M (01/11). homebirth.jpg
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#29 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 09:27 AM
 
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about once every few weeks, McDonalds French fries. My kids LOVE those things (must get it from their mama) so I let them slpurge a little every once in a while.

My older one loves chocolate (Another mommy trait) but the little guy can only have certain chocolate cookies cuz of heis dairy allergy, so I keep a box of oreos around for just such an occassion. Otherwise, thats it.
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#30 of 62 Old 06-11-2010, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreThanApplesauce View Post
I've seen this argument a lot and I don't buy it. Wouldn't it follow then that children of vegetarians would have an unhealthy infatuation with meat?
Actually, yes, I have seen this. Also, there are all sorts of different types of vegetarians, which produces quite a bit of different levels of exposure. I know of a few where one household member is veg, but the other is not. The kids are still exposed to meat through the non veg spouse.
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