How do you handle sweets/"junk" food in your house? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-13-2005, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm at my wit's end with this. I've always wanted to be very hand-off about what ds' eats - offer healthy choices, let him choose at will. He has a dad who's a junk-food-a-holic, though, and we're separated so it's not really working. His dad also makes a control issue out of food. For example, he has to eat his dinner before having dessert, that sort of thing.

Also, from the start, he's been one of those kids who gets fixated on sweets and wants nothing else.

After self-regulating seemed to be backfiring, I tried the following:

"Healthy food first then sweets" paradigm - didn't work. He'd eat 2 bites of healthy food and then ask for sweets. And what could I say to that? I definitely don't want to get into the "Take one more bite" habit. I want him to control his own food intake.

Then, I went to a "one treat a day" rule. It felt completely uncomfortable because I don't like sweets being thought of as 'treats' and, therefore, being made more desirable than other foods. Still, it seemed to work for awhile. We went from him bugging me constantly, all day, about wanting junk food to him being content with having his one thing each day, whenever he wanted it. Eventually it stopped working, though, and he was back to being overly-focused on junk.

Yesterday I just couldn't take it anymore. We had some dark chocolate M&Ms in the house and I decided to just put them in a bowl on the counter. I only asked that the bowl stay on the counter (more for the bowl's safety than anything else). So, he helped himself but ate much less than I thought he would. It was like a frenzy for a few minutes and then he was on to other things, only to come back periodically. :LOL

I'm thinking of trying this out for a while - just keeping a little candy dish on the counter or cookies in the cookie jar and giving him free access. What concerns me, though, is that it's the first thing on his mind in the morning always. This morning, he got up and the very first thing he did was grab a handful of M&Ms. Yesterday when he ate too many, he got a pretty bad stomachache. I reminded him of this (not nagging - just jogging his memory) and then left it. He ate handful after handful.

I know it will take probably take awhile for him to decompress from being controlled about sweets, but I'd feel better if I had some sort of assurance that he'd become less focused on it over time. There's the added complicator of his father being in a different household and having different methods. And then there's the problem of when we go places. How do you handle it when your child asks for sweets when you're out? I tend to say 'no' and give the reason that I don't have a lot of extra money to spend on non-necessities. He does have his own money, though. Perhaps I should suggest to him before we go out that he bring his own money in case there's something he would like to buy?

I don't know why I feel so incompetent about this. :LOL I think it's probably because I have so many issues about food stemming from my childhood and I just don't want to screw ds up the way I was.

Help, please?
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:03 PM
 
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Just don't buy the stuff to begin with.


I bake an ocassional tasty treat for the kids. The pantry contains Cheeze- its and granola bars. That's it. We have a plain Hershey's bar once in a while as treat. Soda is never in the house. I let them order Sprite on the one day a week we go to the pizza parlor. Sweets should not be taboo, just rare.
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish it were that simple. I normally don't keep much, if any, in our home. His dad does, though, at his home. And he's 4.5, so it's not like it's out of sight, out of mind.

What happens now is that whenever we go shopping, he bugs me to buy him junk food (we mostly shop at whole food stores, so it's not the worst kind of crap, but still....). He's fixated on it, it's become a miserable experience shopping with him. If I don't have any in the house, he feels like I'm depriving him of something that he wants. And then it's a control issue - he wants it, I don't want him to have it... voila: power struggle. I want to figure out a way that we don't have power struggles over food.

I really want us to be at a place where we can keep a small amount of sweets in the house and he isn't obsessed with eating it all.

This is why I'm thinking of suggesting he spend his own money on it. Then, he has the power to make the decision. I'm thinking this may backfire, too, though.
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:53 PM
 
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Since I do 99% of the grocery shopping, I pretty much control the sweets and other junk that gets into the house.

My dh is also a HUGE sweet AND junk food eater : I am not. I do enjoy GOOD chocolate so that's what I buy. I only buy it when its on 'sale' so it doesn't get into the house very often. That said, we almost always have some sort of chocolate around though... Dh is addicted

We have dh's kids over every other weekend and I do make sure we have decent snacks for them. I always have fruit that I know they like, various healthy organic alternatives to the 'traditional' junk foods, like Newman's brands of cookies and chips, some of the Annie's crackers basically anything without any transfats in the ingrediants.

Now when dh does help with the shopping, we will get traditional crap in the house and Mason and the other kids do get to eat some of it. But we don't make a huge deal out of it since its all about balance over time Even if they binge on treats like around the holidays, they are doing better than most kids that get Twinkies w/ their burger basket at school...

As for pop, I do not buy sugar pop either. I stick to Diet Rite sodas sweetened with Splenda, Sprite Zero or diet Root Beer. I do not like the stickiness that seems to be everywhere when there's regular pop around. Dh is also addicted to Coke so he has to buy his own His daughter is following her dad's footsteps... She skinny as a rail, eats junk and drinks sugar pop... Thank goodness his son sees that he CAN get FAT if he pigs out on sugary stuff and he watches what he eats.

Kids are going to eat what they want when they're at school so you need to provide them with good models at home. Start with feeding yourself good nutritious things. Show your kids that eating good things is a way of life and because you respect yourself enough to provide your body with healthy foods, and hopefully by the time they leave for college, they'll follow suit

Rhianna momma to ds #1 - 9 & ds #2 - born 10/22/2012

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Old 04-13-2005, 04:15 PM
 
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We do not control food for the children at all. Everything they decide to eat, or not eat & and how much to eat of it and when is all up to them. We have discussed basic nutrition with them, and that the body needs certain things to run. We have told them that a diet of nothing but cheetos, pepsi, and chocolate isn't likely to help their bodies be healthy. That's about it. We believe them to be smart enough that, if they have the info about nutrition and their body, to figure out how this works. Of course they've understood more and more as they got older too.

We buy a variety of foods. We buy raw spinach, frosted flakes, yogurt, soda, fruit, chocolate, avacados, potato chips...etc. The kids are as welcome to grab yogurt as they are potato chips. By not making "junk" an off limits or "only sometimes" or only after "healthy" food item it has remained just another food choice they can have... or not. If you make it an issue, it becomes one.

We were on a trip to the coast one time, and my MIL came along. She cannot stand the way we allow the children to choose their own foods, even if its "junk food". Anyway it was getting to be about 1 pm and we'd been running around much of the day so far. Dd (then almost 9 I think) said she was getting hungry. We all kind of said that we were too, but that there were some Cheez-It crackers and pepsi in the car until we could get to the restaurant. She said something along the lines of "Naw, I had alot of soda yesterday. I'm looking for some soup and sandwich." My MIL's face was priceless. Could this child be turning down "junk" right before her very eyes? Indeed lol.

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Old 04-13-2005, 06:59 PM
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"Yeah we have basically made the rule that anything in our house foodwise is available to our child...except hard liquor of course *sigh* ...

We don't want to be hypocritical. We want to be models to our child, so it forces us to be mindful of what WE buy and eat...of course there is the occasional "junk" but the "occasional" or "rare" thing NEVER made anyone unhealthy or overweight etc...

It is important to remember that. If your child (your collective) is eating nothing but junk, it is probably wise to look within your cabinets and by extention, yourself as to why that is available to them and why they developed the habit to begin with.

I am not the "blame the parents for everything" type at all, I am just stating, that to a certain age, you do have control over what your children eat for the most part, even if the "control" only extends to what you are willing to buy for your own family and allow them to eat whatever is in the house (which is our thing)...so they develop healthy tastes and preferences early.

Sure, when they get to a certain age (out with friends etc) they may have a couple of junk food *gorges* if for no other reason than the novelty of it, but that will soon pass in my opinion...as you have never made "junk" off limits to them, you have simply bought mostly healthy for your family...know what I mean?
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:40 PM
 
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This is an issue for us as well with our youngest who is now 7. For reasons i dont understand, my other 2 kids self regulated and food was not a battle.

With my youngest, i have tried pretty much what others have done, especially the OP. Finally, i keep the crap minimal, and absolutely no candy in the house. BUt i do buy two bags of chips, and say 2 packages of little debbies like junk (star crunch is my favorite ). I watch as everyone systematically devours everything in a single day. Then, i watch them reach for the yogurt, cheese sticks, and bananas. I try not and freak out about it.

For lunch on sunday i make a nice piece of broiled salmon that everyones eats and nibbles on throughout the afternoon.....typically bypassing the chips and salsa, when i do this.

Still it bugs me. And i should follow what a previous poster recommends and not buy it, but i do anyway and fret the whole time.
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:58 PM
 
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I'm the junk food addict in my house.

I love sweets and always have. Probably always will. That's why I don't buy junk food to begin with. It just never makes it into the cart. Period. When I really, really want something, we go out and get it (ice cream, etc). That works well for me for several reasons:

1. It's not always convenient to go out so sometimes we don't
2. It's not very cost effective, so we don't make it a habit
3. At least when we do go, it's the good stuff so it makes it worth the wait.

To the OP; I know you don't want struggles with food and I agree it would be nice to have snacks in the house and not have them devoured asap, but I just don't know if that's a reality for some people.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:15 PM
 
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Add me to the "just don't buy it" crowd. I was more addicted to sweets than dh. After dinner, it didn't feel right if I didn't have something sweet. When dh and I got married, the only thing he had in the house that was sweet was sugared fennel seeds. So I had some of those. It made a good after dinner treat, because it was sweet, but you couldn't eat too many of them, and they help your digestion. As for other "junk" foods, we buy graham crackers, and tortilla chips and that's it. When I was craving sweet one night, I had peanut butter and graham crackers topped with coconut and a bit of honey (literally, just a tiny drizzle). It was sweet, but not too sweet, and had enough protien to fill me.
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I am not the "blame the parents for everything" type at all, I am just stating, that to a certain age, you do have control over what your children eat for the most part, even if the "control" only extends to what you are willing to buy for your own family and allow them to eat whatever is in the house (which is our thing)...so they develop healthy tastes and preferences early.
I guess that's the thing: I only have "control" over what's available to him about 65% of the time. The rest is on his dad's watch. I think that's a variable that makes the situation a good bit different.

Fortunately, he does enjoy a number of healthy foods (though nothing green, which concerns me). It's just that he over-fixates on sweets and that's what I'd like to sort out. I'd like to be able to achieve balance where we could have sweets around if we wanted to and he wouldn't feel the need to eat nothing but that.

Maybe I'm not explaining it clearly.

Quote:
Sure, when they get to a certain age (out with friends etc) they may have a couple of junk food *gorges* if for no other reason than the novelty of it, but that will soon pass in my opinion...as you have never made "junk" off limits to them, you have simply bought mostly healthy for your family...know what I mean?
How do you strike the balance, though, when you have a child who wants junk food when you're out. I have healthy food at home but when we go out, he asks me to buy him cookies, candy, etc. I say "no" and, so, I have made it off limits to him, haven't I? If I don't have it at home and I don't buy it when we're out, then it's off limits. But if I have it at home, then he's fixated on it and wants to eat it all up. Maybe I'm just screwed. :LOL

UnschoolnMa - what you've described is what I'm striving for. Unfortunately, with the dad factor thrown in, it complicates things and I'm just not sure how to get there.
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sparkprincess
To the OP; I know you don't want struggles with food and I agree it would be nice to have snacks in the house and not have them devoured asap, but I just don't know if that's a reality for some people.

Good Luck!
I think you may be right, sparkprincess.

And Persephone - what a great idea about the graham crackers, coconut, and honey. I'll fix some of that up tomorrow and see what he thinks!

sweetbaby - Thanks to you, too. I think some kids just are different. With ds, I'm not sure if it's his nature or if it's something that we've done to him.

Thanks for your input, everyone. Food for thought.
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Old 04-14-2005, 06:42 AM
 
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This is a big can of worms for me, so I won't go off, here. . . .

We don't have junk fude in our home. We do have 'treats' (organic, non-sugar stuff from the health food store), but only for special occasions. I do believe that sugar is one of the most addictive edible substances there are, and there is an enormous body of scientific evidence to support that. Also, our culture condones this addiction and perpetuates it constantly. So there is a generally casual attitude toward a very dangerous substance (my opinion).

This is why I don't allow my dc to self-regulate, after years of research, thought, and trial-and-error. That said, I don't make a big deal about it if we are confronted with those various situations in which my dc are being offered treats that I wouldn't keep in the house (except if they have colors, preservatives, etc. in them -- we do not ever eat those things, ever). I think it is what we do habitually, on a day-to-day basis, that really matters.

Today I was at Trader Joe's with my dc and they were giving samples of these dark chocolate-covered rasberry jelly sticks. They were all natural, but loaded with sugar. I've found over the years that it works better for us if I am mellow about sometimes eating these 'once-in-a-while' kind of foods. So I said yes and they each got one. Well, the lady handing them out came up to me about five minutes later, when my dc were still sucking on their one little chocolate-covered rasberry stick, and said, "I can always tell the dc who really appreciate these things. . . . they always take their time eating it!" That's exactly what they were doing :LOL
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:41 PM
 
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We just don't bring it in the house. And I like to do what Spark does-we go out for special treats usually. Today we were out with a relative who was in town and DS#1 had a slice of cake. He loved it. Didn't have the whole thing, but loved it nontheless.

I have a sweet tooth. A major one. So I keep it outta the house for my well-being and my childrens' well-being. DS gets a little junk here and there. But I'd rather him have a slice of really good cake then have him eat Teddy Grahams or lollipops all day long.

We went to the park with some friends the other day and I felt so uncool with the kids b/c I had packed apple slices and pop corn. And my friend had teddy grahams and cookies.

I don't know, it's all about balance. And I really do think that children, at least my older son, pick up on the parents' attitudes about and surrounding food. We are snackers in our house. We like pretzels, and bits of fruit or popcorn or graham crackers. Even if it's before dinner and daddy wants some pretzels, well, it's just okay if DS has some, too. I don't think you can separate your own attitudes about food from your kids. They're going to pick up on it somehow.

I would just make your son's time with you as full of healthy stuff as possible.
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Old 04-15-2005, 07:51 PM
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I don't buy it either. It's just not in the house and when they ask while out shopping the answer is a standard "That's no really a healthy choice so I would rather not buy it". My dd has a big sweet tooth and she would eat it all day long if I let her. I don't just let them eat whatever they want. I don't regulate fruit/vegetables, healthy grains, healthy cookies (most of my cookies are low sugar, whole grain goodness so I don't consider them a treat). I do regulate the sugar that is brought into the house by other people, such as aunts and grandma's at Easter time. A treat around here is just that. It's not an everyday occurance. Children will natrually gravitate to the sugar and candy if given the choice and they really don't fully understand the effects that sugar and such has on their little bodies. When a treat comes into the house I let them know when it is available to them and it's not everyday. If they bug and nag then I just throw it away and that stops the bugging almost instantly.

I find that if I allow them a treat on occasion then they are less likely to overeat. They get their taste and that's enough for them. If I allow them to have a treat more frequently then they tend to eat more of it at one time. Does that make sense?

I am amazed at how many treats kids eat in a day. My sister is bad for this. She thinks nothing of letting her dd and ds snack of cheesies, store cookies or home made "bad" cookies, dunkaroos, sugar cereals, sugary juices, slurpies and candy. Daily! Her dd is 5 and has 4 cavities and has already had 3 filled. She has numerous health issues. Her ds is always sick, now with scarlet fever, and always looks so awful. She says that she feeds her kids healthy meals (and she does), but they are always snacking of junk. To me a treat is a once a week thing, maybe. It's not everyday and I definatley regulate the type and quantity of any treat.
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Old 04-15-2005, 09:16 PM
 
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cjr wrote: Children will natrually gravitate to the sugar and candy if given the choice and they really don't fully understand the effects that sugar and such has on their little bodies.

You're speaking of your children here, and not all children right? Because I know of many children that do not naturally gravitate to the sugar when given the choice. Mine included

I am amazed at how many treats kids eat in a day. My sister is bad for this. She thinks nothing of letting her dd and ds snack of cheesies, store cookies or home made "bad" cookies, dunkaroos, sugar cereals, sugary juices, slurpies and candy. Daily!

Because our children are in control of what they eat sometimes their day might contain many of these things, and sometimes not. We think nothing of it either.



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Old 04-15-2005, 10:58 PM
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Nope, I mean most children. I was discussing this with a child developement worker with whome I meet with once a month. She organizes a parent/child playgroup weekly and they have parents bring in snacks for all the kids. She said they had to threaten to throw away food if it was not a healthy item and that all cookies and such would not be served. She noticed that 100% of the time the cookies and treats would get eaten while the vegetables and fruit would be left. Once they said no treats the children would start to eat the healthy foods again.

It's great that your children choose healthy over not so healthy, but I have met very few kids who do. I also had a dayhome for several years so I have been around many different children. 90% of the children in my dayhome throughout the years were the same too. I personally would never let my children snack on unhealthy foods daily. I am the parent and it's my job to help guide them and if it means limiting the amount of junk they put in their bodies then that's what I will do. I don't limit the healthy foods, just the junk and it's helping my kids realize how they feel when they eat unhealthy foods. It's also helping them to make those great food choices. I do not feel guilty or bad for limiting junk food and processed foods.
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Old 04-15-2005, 11:08 PM
 
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We've always had fairly healthy food in the house, with very limited junk, but when our youngest was born with severe allergies, we had to learn how to really read a label and fully understand it. It's amazing how much crap is in our food!!! Even in "healthy" food, like most granola bars!

That's all it took for us--a real understanding of what we were putting into our bodies, even when we thought we were being careful.

We've never kept soda or juice boxes or twinkies around. When the kids asked for them before ds2 was born, we simply explained why those foods were so bad. No arguments. Maybe a passing pout, nothing more. Now, they don't ask. All of us have gained a much better understanding of how food affects our body.

Now our "junk" includes organic pretzels and carrot sticks. Sunflower seeds. Organic crackers and whole grain breads. Joe's O's. Sunbutter. Sweet potato chips. And the older kids are free to eat all day, anytime. The baby's diet is a little more controlled only because of his allergies. The only commercially prepared foods that are safe are certain kinds of rice cakes and sweet potato chips.

The dyes and the preservatives just aren't good for the other kids anyway. My oldest, age 10, has several activities outside the home and candy seems to be a big, big part of those activities. She'll usually have a piece, but she won't gorge on it and she's noticed that some things, like that red juice, make her stomach hurt anyway. My 5-yr-old ds1 knows that corn syrup and dyes make him spin, so, even when he's at a friend's house, he asks the mom to read labels for him. If he goes to a party at chuck e. cheese, he eats one piece of pizza and none of the cake. And he's never complained about avoiding it. He's learned he just feels better if he doesn't eat it.

That's just what's worked for us; the foods simply aren't available, but the children know why. Even our 2-year-old can tell us that certain foods will make him sick; he knows he can't go anywhere near ice cream.

Maybe you could include your son and his father in the discussions and in the decisions. Choose which foods are an option together. That way your son feels like he has a voice, and you and your son's father are working together. It also keeps some consistency between the homes.

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Old 04-16-2005, 06:53 PM
 
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Well, unfortunately I can't imagine you can do much about what he eats at his father's house. I'm not sure what your relationship is with your ex, but if it's a good one then maybe you two can come up with a cohesive plan. But if not, then at least do what you can at your house. A good place to start is to buy healther versions of standard treats, ones without hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, food colorings, etc. etc.

This topic is interesting to me because just yesterday we decided to do an experiment with ds. I noticed that he too would obsess about anything sweet if it was around. If we had cake in the house, I would be woken up with him asking for it. As soon as we walk into my inlaw's house, he starts asking for ice cream (they always have it in the freezer), at my mom's house it's cookies. And I too found myself doing the whole ridiculous "one more bite" thing and it drove me crazy.

So as of yesterday, anything in the house he can have, anytime he wants. We do eat very healthy around here, so for the most part this is a safe bet. But there are still times when we have soda, or a cake, or some ice cream, and I end up being irritated to no end about the constant arguments. So even if we have that stuff now, he can have whatever he wants. I'm curious to see how it goes.

For instance, every single time we are at a restaurant he pesters me about wanting to eat sugar out of the packets. I have said absolutely not every single time. Then he would try to drain something out of them if there was an open one from an iced tea or something. The other day he was secretly trying to rip one open. So yesterday, he started in on me, and I said, sure, go ahead. He looked at me really suspiciously and ate it, eyeing me the whole time. He didn't ask for another one.

But I will say that ds seems to be fairly good at self regulating, so I'm really thinking this will work for us. When we let him order a soda at a restaurant, he usually only finishes less than 1/2 of it. Even after he's begged for a piece of cake he rarely eats the whole thing. Ice cream he does often want more of, but since I've never let him have as much as he wanted I'm not sure where he would stop. I guess I'll find out!

Much like Unschoolnma's kids, I am hoping that he will learn to listen to his body as to what to eat when. I eat my fair share of junk food, but there are times when my body says absolutely not, and you couldn't force cheetos down my throat even though I love them otherwise. When I am sick, I crave brown rice and steamed veggies. And I'm really hoping that by taking the "treat" part out of sweets and junk that he will become a little less obsessed.
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:08 AM
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He's learned he just feels better if he doesn't eat it.
My oldest dd is the same way. Because she does not eat sugary treats very often her body isn't used to it and it really sends her on a downward spiral. She knows when she's had to much and will tell me so. She can tell me when she has eaten something that wasn't the most nutritious because of how she is feeling. To me that is so important. I think it really helps that we discuss nutrition extensively with our kids. I don't say "no, you can't have it". I explain why that certain food isn't the best choice and why it should be saved as a special treat to have from time to time.

I think it also helps that dh and I don't eat unhealthy snacks around the kids. I don't eat them at all and dh only eats them from time to time when he's at work or running erands by himself.

My youngest dd has a real sweet tooth. If grandma has given her some chocolate or some other kind of sugary treat, it pains her not to be able to eat on it all day long. However, if she did she would be bouncing off the walls and we would have a whole list of other issues to contend with.

I don't agree with limiting or controlling food. If they are hungry then they are hungry and should be able to eat whatever they feel like eating, as long as it's a healthy choice and not just empty calories. There is absolutly nothing wrong with limiting the treats and unhealthy foods. I prefer to make a whole foods cake with a small amount of sucanat and a good healthy fat, this cake they can eat whenever they want it.
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:54 AM
 
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There is absolutly nothing wrong with limiting the treats and unhealthy foods.
In your opinion.

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Old 04-17-2005, 03:12 PM
 
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This is such an interesting topic.

To a certain extent, I agree with the idea of letting children self-regulate. That solves a lot of the problems associated with strictly limiting (or forbidding) certain foods.

But I also think that children's palates need to be educated so that they like (and hopefully eventually prefer!) real whole foods, rather than processed junk.

I live in the UK, and there was a TV programme over here in which a celebrity chef took on British school dinners. The kids were used to nasty processed food/junk, and that's what they were getting fed at school (chicken nuggets, processed pizzas, chips, sodas, candy, crisps, etc).

When the chef introduced lovely real home-cooked food, the kids turned their noses up at it. Refused to eat it.

It was only after he completely banned the junk that the kids began to eat and enjoy real food. He also had to combine banning junk with a 'real food' week in which he got the children involved in preparing food, had food quizzes, talked up the joys of real food, etc.

It took a lot of work to get the kids to like the real stuff! And I think that's because the junk is high fat, sugar, salt - all of which is going to make it initially very attractive to children.

We tend to not have junk in the house (except in very limited amounts). What we do have, I try to let the kids have when they ask for it, although we talk a LOT about the fact that our bodies really need good food in them before we put in junk, or else the junk will make us sick (and it's not a good idea to eat lots of junk, because even though it tastes good, it doesn't help our bodies to grow/stay well/etc).

And I must admit - they don't always know what dh has in the house!

We do try to keep sugary stuff for after meals (talking, as above, about the need for good food before we eat sugar so we dont' get sick/etc). But I try to let my kids control their own portion sizes - I guess it's kind of a half-way house of us having total control and letting them have control over what they are eating.
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Old 04-17-2005, 03:53 PM
 
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I think its a balance of education and regulation.

In the OPs case, where the regulation is limited than education becomes more important. I am having similar issues with dd's daycare giving them stuff I dont serve at home ( pizza, popsicles )

Even "healthy" foods need limits - I dont eat junk, yet Im overweight. I see this in my daughter, who just plain loves to eat. This morning I had to limit her to one mango - thats a ( not yet ) 2 year old eating an ENTIRE mango. It was for her own good KWIM? She also had a piece of whole wheat toast with cream cheese,(which she loves) but the sweet, sticky fruit was soooo yummy! :LOL

I wish more children were like some of PPs - able to choose healthy foods on thier own. But I remember when I was a teacher seeing kids with lovingly packed lunches from home discard them in favor of sodas and chips from the vending machines

I guess the answer is that there is no simple answer. It is a constant endeavor to cook healthy meals, choose healthy snacks, educate about moderation and nutrition and model healthy behaviors. And for those of us who are not with our dcs 24/7, its even harder
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Old 04-17-2005, 04:11 PM
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In your opinion.
I would hope that would be the opinion of most parents who are concerned about the health and eating habits of their children.

Have I written something to offend you? Of course it's my opinion, do I need to state that after every sentence? The OP is asking how we handle sweets, and limiting the sweets is how we handle it and I see nothing wrong with it. I believe most children don't have the self control to regulate their eating habits. As parents it's our job to guide them, in my opinion. Teaching them that it's ok to have a daily helping of sugar, soda or chips is not helping them make healthy choices, in my opinion. I do not believe that unhealthy foods should be made part of our (meaning parents and children's) daily diet. I believe that a healthy diet consists of healthy, natural and unprocessed foods and that treats should be allowed only once in a while. Some children are great at making healthy choices, but I believe it has not been without guidance from their parents. When I say making their own healthy choice I don't mean after they have already had their daily soda or sugar cookie.

If I tell my children to eat what they want, of course they are going to eat somthing I would rather they didn't at some point in the day. I don't want them to eat a daily serving of junk. To me that's not a healthy diet. Just because they they only ate a few m&m's and then had an apple does not make it ok, or a healthy choice. IMO. I prefer to take my kids out for a family trip to the ice cream shop and let them order what they want, once a month.

There are too many unhealthy children in our society. Too many parents feel it's ok to let their kids have an unhealthy snack once a day. It's not ok. IMO. For every unhealthy snack they eat they are not getting some sort of nutrient their bodies need to grow and thrive that they would have otherwise have gotten from a healthy one. IMO I know first hand how I feel when I'm not eating right. I don't feel right. I get phantom aches and cramping. I get headaches and I'm cranky. Until I revamped my own eating I didn't realize just how crapy I felt due to my diet, and I've always considered myself to be a healthy eater. Why on earth would I want my children to feel the same way? So maybe I have to put up with a little wining and complaining because they can't have the chocolate bunny their aunt gave them. It's a small price to pay, IMO, to have healthy children.
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Old 04-17-2005, 04:21 PM
 
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cjr wrote: I would hope that would be the opinion of most parents who are concerned about the health and eating habits of their children.

I am concerned about the health of my children, of course, but how they eat is up to them.


Have I written something to offend you?
No not at all! Sorry if I led you to think that. Sometimes indicating emotion and tone through posting is difficult.

There are too many unhealthy children in our society. Too many parents feel it's ok to let their kids have an unhealthy snack once a day. It's not ok. IMO.

That's totally cool. It was just I was perceiving to be a generalization (rather than just your opinion) that I was commenting on. It's all good.

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Old 04-17-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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I am right where you are at Dragonfly. A bit idfferent, but my dd is the same..she will wake up and BEG for her easter treats for breakfast. For supper, she will take 2 bites of a healthy meal, and say she is done. Only to proceed to ask for her easter bunny yet again! This is daily for every meal. it is driving me! So I am very much following this thread!

P.S~ junk food happens! My neighbour bought the kids each a HUGE BAsket for Easter full of nothing but junk food. I did not know they were going to buy it. They do not know that we try not to feed out kids junk...it happens! Also as I type, they are outside with the neighbourhood kids, and I just heard dd ask dh if she can have a freezie too (the nieghbour brought brought them out for everyone) What is he to do? . These kids next door, consume junk all day everyday. Yet they are dds' closest friends. There is bound to be some junkfood consumed if WE buy it or not.
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Old 04-17-2005, 05:27 PM
 
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I know I can't remove all junk food from my kids' lives. Yes, definitely, "junk food happens". About once every three or four months, we'll buy happy meals.

We used to even have the occasional box of little debbies in the house. Then we started learning more about food and additives and how our bodies process what we eat and suddenly it was really, really easy to just get rid of it! I don't want to feed my kids crap!! I don't want them even believing it's okay to eat it! Really, junk food is like a poison and it's not ok! I want to give my kids the strongest possible start to life and that includes guiding them in how to best take care of their bodies!

I don't just say, "No, because I said so." We talk about it. My five-year-old knows certain foods don't work well in his body and he communicates that very clearly when he is offered food by others. It blows people's minds sometimes when he refuses something because it has red icing or corn syrup.

The most recent studies do indicate that certain fats are addictive; they also show that our bodies do not metabolize corn syrup effectively. Why would I want to set my kids up? As parents, we have a responsibility to keep our kids safe and, IMO, keeping them safe includes nurturing their bodies and their souls, allowing them to grow up as healthy (mentally, physically) as possible.

I want my children to be able to make their own choices, but I want them to be as educated as possible about those choices. And while they are growing up, I need to make sure that the options that are readily available to them are the ones that will lead to strong bodies and minds. My youngest would die if he made the choice to drink a cup of milk; I don't keep it around and allow it to even be an option. I remove the danger and explain why. Junk food would obviously not be such an immediate danger, but, in the long term, with consistent, repeated exposure, it is. It does, in fact, kill. Just not as quickly.

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Old 04-17-2005, 05:42 PM
 
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I guess that's the thing: I only have "control" over what's available to him about 65% of the time. The rest is on his dad's watch. I think that's a variable that makes the situation a good bit different.
.

I'm in a similar situation. The way I look at it is my dd is getting more than enough junk at her dad's so she doesn't need to get it at home too....so I don't keep it in the house for her to eat

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Old 04-17-2005, 05:55 PM
 
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We don't want to be hypocritical. We want to be models to our child, so it forces us to be mindful of what WE buy and eat...of course there is the occasional "junk" but the "occasional" or "rare" thing NEVER made anyone unhealthy or overweight etc...
I totally agree! And that’s how we do it in our house. There are no off limit foods. If we buy it than any of us can eat it. The one thing my husband would not stop drinking was coke so now he just drinks it in the office. We buy the occasional "junk" and if my son wants it he can eat it. He is never denied food that is in our home but mostly that kind of food is not in the house. He still has a basket FULL of Easter candy that he has not touched in a week even though it is right out in the open. Also cakes, cookie and the like (when we have them) are served with the meal. They are never a reward for eating. If he wants to eat if first, last or not at all the choice is his. Usually he eat a few bites of the cookie and they eats his meal, sometime finishing the cooie afterwards.

Ellen Satyr (sp?) who wrote "How to get your kids to eat but no too much" basically did the same experiment the OP did. No foods were off limits. Soda, cake, cookies, candy. She too her kids shopping and let them buy anything they wanted. She continued to make healthy meals at the family meals time which her kids ate or not as they saw fit. Her kids gorged but within days were eating balanced foods over the course of a day and/or week. The only exception: They could not buy grapes (any one remember boycotting grapes in the late 70's?). Sure enough a few weeks later at a party she saw her son gorging on grapes, literally stuffing his pockets. They became what candy used to be to her son.

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Old 04-17-2005, 05:58 PM
 
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I am right where you are at Dragonfly. A bit idfferent, but my dd is the same..she will wake up and BEG for her easter treats for breakfast. For supper, she will take 2 bites of a healthy meal, and say she is done. Only to proceed to ask for her easter bunny yet again! This is daily for every meal. it is driving me! So I am very much following this thread!

P.S~ junk food happens! My neighbour bought the kids each a HUGE BAsket for Easter full of nothing but junk food. I did not know they were going to buy it. They do not know that we try not to feed out kids junk...it happens! Also as I type, they are outside with the neighbourhood kids, and I just heard dd ask dh if she can have a freezie too (the nieghbour brought brought them out for everyone) What is he to do? . These kids next door, consume junk all day everyday. Yet they are dds' closest friends. There is bound to be some junkfood consumed if WE buy it or not.

we try to keep healthy alternatives in the house. When the kids across the street are chowing on ice-cream bars my kids come inside and get some homemade yogurt fruit smoothie bars.... As far as the easter stuff (my mother in law does this to me all of the time) my children know that when they eat a treat from the basket they also need to throw one treat away. This way we cut the junk in half Sometimes I'll buy the treats from the kids and they'll go to the healthfood store to buy a healthier verson.


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Old 04-17-2005, 06:09 PM
 
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we try to keep healthy alternatives in the house. When the kids across the street are chowing on ice-cream bars my kids come inside and get some homemade yogurt fruit smoothie bars....
We do this kind of thing as well. My girls and I make treats for us quite often - they love making chocolate covered fruit (either fresh or dried fruit) - that is a HUGE treat (much better than a candy bar!) to them, but it isn't processed junk (we use dark chocolate).

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Sometimes I'll buy the treats from the kids and they'll go to the healthfood store to buy a healthier verson.
We do this as well, when the kids are given loads of junk by other people. I don't want to forbid it, as I think that causes problems. And it WAS given to them - so we set up a conflict - do they want the junk food or the money more? The money usually wins out... (we pay well!) :LOL
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