Am I really depriving my kids by not letting them have junk food?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Kking927, Aug 2, 2013.


Do you think kids that aren't allowed to have junk food are missing out on anything?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Undecided

  1. Kking927

    Kking927 New Member

    What are your thoughts on letting kids have junk food? My family follows the Weston A. Price diet and we don't keep any junk food, vegetable oil, refined sugar, and other foods we view as unhealthy in the house. I try not to be too uptight about it when we're eating with our extended family. I don't want to offend anyone, but I do make sure our relatives know that it's not ok to give our kids (3 and 1) candy and junk food. The only exceptions are birthday parties, baby showers, etc. and my 3 year old son is allowed to have a little cake and ice cream.

    Some of our relatives may think we're a little too strict about this, but everyone respects our wishes... except my mom. We've talked about where I'm coming from and she agrees it's a good think for them to eat healthy, but she still tries to give them junk food. At first she would always ask before giving them anything (in front of them), even when she knew I would say no. But now she just sneaks things behind my back or when she's babysitting.

    It really makes me mad, and I'm to the point I don't even want to let her spend time alone with them anymore. Earlier this week she let my 3 year old have his first sucker (she took him to get his haircut.. without asking first) and I only found out because my son told me about it. I don't feel like I'm depriving them or being unfair. I make them cookies and desserts, so they get plenty of sweet things. And I always make sure they have healthy snacks they can eat at her house. Am I just crazy for thinking kids that like fruits and vegetables are missing out by not getting junk food?
    Deepy likes this.
  2. Chris I. Suguitan

    Chris I. Suguitan New Member

    I think the key operative term would be 'moderation'. I believe all kids should be able to enjoy some junk food as part of being a kid. This of course has to be prefixed by proper attitudinal modification that lead them to know that junk food is the exception rather than the rule. Another way of going about it is to train kids to think of some healthier alternatives as 'junk food'. One of my nephews grew up thinking carrot sticks dipped in honey is a junk food treat. It might work for some.
    PhantomWriter17 likes this.
  3. Sarengazie

    Sarengazie New Member

    Your mother is from a different era. Back then things like candy cake, and soda were not big deals because they were give as treats not every food. I think people have trouble establishing a grey area. There is nothing wrong with giving a child sweets as a treat. Its a great way to balance things. I believe you mom has the right idea but is going about it all wrong.
  4. PhantomWriter17

    PhantomWriter17 New Member

    I think there are three issues at play here: moderation, boundaries, and picking your battles.

    I believe that most things are ok in moderation. From your post, it doesn't sound like you explicitly forbid your children to ever sample junk food, only that you prefer to keep it to an absolute minimum. Personally, I find nothing wrong with this. They are your children, you do allow them do indulge on special occasions, and they are therefore not deprived of the experience. You are practicing extreme moderation, not absolute exclusion.

    With regard to boundaries, it sounds like your mother has an issue here. Yes, grandparents are entitled to spoil their grandchildren, but not by deliberately going against the explicit wishes of the parent. I would express to her how her actions are making you feel uncomfortable about leaving the children alone with her. Explain that you aren't threatening to never let her see them again, but that it has become increasingly difficult to trust her to respect your parenting techniques. That breach of trust has become a toxic point in your relationship that you would prefer not to be there. A discussion in which both parties are willing to agree on what is acceptable and what is not, even if it involves a small level of compromise, would most likely be beneficial.

    Which brings me to my last point. Sometimes, you have to know when to pick your battles. Some are worth fighting, others are not. If your children are not with your mother very often, then allowing it to slide every so often may be best for the integrity of your relationship. If, however, this happens with greater frequency and you feel as though your children's health may be at risk, then it's a battle worth fighting. You must decide how dire of a situation it is, the reasons her actions upset you, and then determine the best course to take from here. I wish you much luck!
    Miss_Mikaela and pheenix like this.
  5. Harfish

    Harfish New Member

    Here's a little fact that many parents seem to overlook: kids are meant to put on weight. It's why they are evolutionarily programmed to crave sugary foods. The most important thing you can do is teach your kids about food and let them make their own choices, kids are smart, given the right information they will mostly make good choices.

    And here's something my Aunty, a well known dietician in Australia told me: "If people are denied a certain food as children, they will crave it as adults. I see it every day."
  6. spoink235

    spoink235 New Member

    I think it's important to teach children moderation. By totally disallowing a type of food, you aren't really helping them. They will eventually go out into the world and make their own choices, you should teach them how to make good choices. At ages 3 and 1, it's probably not going to make much difference, but as they grow older forbidding it will likely just make them want it more. Once they are school-aged they will have easy access to junk food - teach them to make good choices.
  7. tim kilsby

    tim kilsby New Member

    No, you are not depriving them. Trust me. As a child I was given all the junk food I could eat. This taught me poor self control, poor eating habits and gave me a bad diet.

    Setting up a proper framework for healthy eating is essential for a happy, long life from the beginning. Let me give you an example.

    You buy a brand new car. You love it, it is amazing and runs well. However, you figure this other car has enjoyed some oil let's pass it on into your new car. Refined old oil into your new car. It doesn't take a genius to understand that the car will not run well with old oil in it.

    As the saying goes, put junk (food) in and get junk (energy, performance, attitude, health) out. Put good in and receive good out.
  8. SFernandez

    SFernandez New Member

    I'm a father and in my opinion, I do not think your kids are missing out on junk food. I used to eat junk food as a kid. I didn't over do it, nor did I gained a lot of weight due to it. As I look back, I do not think it was a healthy habit or that it was a necessity. I'm not saying that they can't have something here and there once in a while but as far as like everyday or every other day, no. I see plenty of kids that are way overweight, and parents that do not control what goes in their mouth. That is not healthy for those kids to be in that condition. I feel bad for them, you always want whats best for any child.

    Not eating junk food and getting them to eat healthy is not a bad thing. Junk food can ruin teeth and then you have to make trips to the dentist. Those dentist visits are not fun, especially when you're in a lot of pain. That's just one of the things that it ruins.

    Kids do not know what is best for them. It's up to us Parents to guide them. We know what's best for them. Until they are able to stand on their own 2 feet, you can guide them as best as you can. When they grow up, they will make their own decisions.

    I can relate to you having a hard time with your mother and your kid. Some mothers do not allow you to be a parent to your own kid. That can be a tough burden on a person because you love both but ultimately, you are responsible for that child not your mom. I think we have to respect parent's wishes, as long as it's best for the child.

    Kids are recording machines. They learn from everything around them. If they see & hear mommy says "no" grandma says "yes", mommy says "no", and dad says "yes", they will pick up on that and they will think that it's ok to brush of mommy and that's where a mother will lose her authority to the child. If they see everyone else stepping on mom, they will think that it's ok and learn to do it too. Talk to your child about why it's not okay to eat junk food. They do listen and react better when spoken to on their level.
  9. AnywhereTraveler

    AnywhereTraveler New Member

    We don't think so. Though sometimes it is hard to keep them from eating junk food, like birthday parties, school events and so on, it will benefit them in the future. There are many alternative on the market for healthy living, vegetarian and vegan foods. It is better to choose whole foods and avoid refined sugars, many desserts are made without the use of chemicals or animal products but they are still yummy and sweet!! Natural sweetness in fruits is still tastier than man made one, let your kids enjoy the nature!!
  10. AlfonsoMiguel

    AlfonsoMiguel New Member

    I don't have any kids, but I do know for a fact that most junk foods contain trans fat, saturated fat, MSG, artificial flavorings and coloring, and far too much sodium. These things are bad for you at any age. I'm sure your kids wont take it against you for keeping them "junk free". In fact, they might even thank you 10 - 15 years later for keeping them safe from the harmful effects junk food.
  11. NicoleB

    NicoleB New Member

    Teaching your children to be healthy is to their own advantage and is very important. I wouldn't say you are "depriving" your children by not allowing them to eat foods that are not healthy for them. However, I think everything should be in moderation. You don't want to create a stigma around junk food, which may cause your children to rebel. After all, you can't be with your children ALL the time and not everyone will share your view on junk food. They will most likely be in an environment with their peers at some point where cookies, candy and soda are offered and they may feel the need to gorge because they know this isn't allowed at home. I am a mother of a toddler and we set a good example for her, eating healthy 95% of the time. I do think that it's OK for her to have a treat here and there and I think that's part of being a kid to a certain extent. There are a number of fond childhood memories surrounding eating tasty treats, like candy apples at Halloween, ice cream in summer and pumpkin pie in the fall. I want my daughter to have those experiences too, but not to excess.
  12. something_clean

    something_clean New Member

    As others have said, moderation is the key.

    I think it's possible to inculcate healthy life habits in children without taking an all-or-nothing approach. As a child, I got sugary foods sometimes, but only as a treat. We weren't given dessert with every meal (only every once in a while), and we weren't given sugary foods as snacks. As an adult, I make healthy food choices. I don't think this is an unusual thing. Removing some of the mystery of sweets will help children have a healthy view of them as adults. You can't prevent a child from being exposed to things like candy. If s/he feels "forbidden" from trying it, s/he's just going to want to try it more.

    Your mother should respect the choices you are making concerning how to raise your children. That being said, I think it would do more harm to a child to perceive tension/anger between family members (or feel like s/he is in the center of a fight) than to be given one sucker. Your mother probably isn't giving your child enough sweets to cause a negative health impact. You might just have to let that one rest.
  13. Elienc

    Elienc New Member

    Apart from the junk food question, it sounds like your mother does not agree on certain aspects of your way of bringing up your kids. She is of course entitled to her own opinion about it, but I do believe she has to respect the decisions and above all authority of the parents. Things like asking in front of the kids, making you seem strict, unkind, the 'evil one' is not done, and so is sneaking in behind your back. Now it's about food, but kids learn quick, and when they get older, it might turn to going to grandma who will let them stay out late, buy them things they want but you oppose etc. While it's only natural that grandparents spoil their grandchildren, undermining your authority is not ok.

    Food wise, I'm worried about what you say 'My family follows the Weston A. Price diet'. I don't know it, and avoiding junk food and refined sugars sounds good, but kids and diets don't really go together. I'm sure you know what you're doing and checked whether it's healthy for young kids too, but they really have other needs when it comes to nutrition.

    That being said, I think learning your kids to eat healthy is great. As a kid, my brothers and I learned to finish our plates, try all kinds of new foods, love vegetables and fruit. Maybe once a year or something we went to McDonalds, and candy or things like chips, soda,... were for special occassions. It makes it more special when you get some candy, it is a real 'treat', not something ready for the taking. Risk is, kids will seize the opportunity when with friends or family (I do have fond memories of the candy jar at my aunt's place lol), or when getting older and getting out on their own. Took my some time to get used to the freedom of getting my own food and to not always get candy of candy bars or chips. But feeling deprived of it? Feeling like it's forbidden? No, candy was a treat, and something to be enjoyed in moderation is what I'm taking with me from my childhood. Totally forbidding it, even when eating out with friends or family, might indeed induce 'forbidden fruit'-associations and make them want it more.
  14. ladylaw121

    ladylaw121 New Member

    I do believe that it's better to not allow your children to have junk food. However, I do also believe in letting a child experience "childhood" which doesn't involve the healthiest of food or snack choices. This should not happen often. I was raised eating healthy food, and of course, there were children who ate Twinkies or McDonald's everyday. I was curious and wanted to eat those things, so I tried them. I did not like Twinkies AT ALL!

    In high school, I started having McDonald's breakfasts when I was on the go and didn't have time to make breakfast, Krispy Kreme in the morning, and Wendy's when I worked at the mall after school. I didn't really gain much weight, but it did effect me negatively until one day in college, I wound up in the hospital from food poisoning caused by eating McDonald's. This caused me to eat more like when I was younger - and then even healthier. I noticed drastic differences in the way my body reacts to healthy, whole foods and a reduction in inflammatory issues. "You are what you eat" is a cliche...because it's true.

    To sum it up: there might be a time that when they get a little older they will be exposed to the other elements. Don't penalize them for it. It's best to raise them to eat healthy, but let them have a treat(s) on a holiday or birthday. Ultimately, they will one day make the choice for themselves and you have to at least make it a pleasant experience for them to start off with so that it will inspire them to maintain this habit independently.
  15. Bree14

    Bree14 New Member

    I completely agree with you. I do not have kids of my own yet but I do plan on using this practice. Kids will survive just fine without all of the junk food. Plus, there are plenty of sweet foods out there to quench a sweet tooth besides all of the processed junk. For example, fruits are super sweet with all natural sugars and is way more healthy than cake and ice cream. In my opinion, natural foods taste much better anyway.
  16. stella24

    stella24 New Member

    Don't feel guilty because it seems you have their best interests at heart.Having healthy snacks means that that they get to enjoy them and stay healthy too.Most kids have a liking for sweet and tasty things .For that reason, try with a variety of healthy treats to make sure that you find the ones they like most.
    I think your mom is being a bit disrespectful.I'm no Dr. Phill but try having a serious sit down with her and explain how important it is to you that your kids don't have junk food.She'll come around, i hope.
  17. Randall Tubbs

    Randall Tubbs New Member

    I'm answering from personal experience. When I was a kid, I ate a lot of junk food, didnt exercise as much as I should have, and basically made every wrong health choice I could have. I became very overweight and became the target of everyones jokes, students and teachers alike. But what kinda helped me a lot was the fact that even with all my weight, I could bench near 200 pounds, so people joked but they also did it at distance. Now that I am grown, I still eat a lot of junk food, but the difference is it is only every no and then instead of all the time.

    But I just said all that to say, if there is too much junk food, you'll get a case like mine. A happy medium is a must. Let them enjoy a few treats, but make sure they stay as treats and not something to expect anytime they want. But as long as they are active and have no health problems, then I dont see where a little junk will hurt them.
  18. Sammybelle

    Sammybelle New Member

    I'm another believer of moderation. I think it's important to teach kids healthy habits and set a good frame work for the future. But I think a little treat here and there is OK. My three year old eats mostly healthy food at home, but if we go to the coffee shop, I share a scone or a muffin with him. And we spent a lot of the winter baking muffins and cakes at home, so he was allowed to eat them (in moderation and after a healthy dinner!). I think there are always extremes. Feeding your kids junk food all the time is setting them up for failure, but I think never allowing them a treat could work against parents. It seems to me that you have a healthy attitude in that your allow your three year old cake and ice cream at parties and gatherings. As for your mother, I think that your actions should depend on how much time your children spend with her. If she is local and sees them on a very regular basis, you need to set boundaries and she needs to agree ti to stick to your rules. She raised her children, she needs to let you raise yours as you see fit. While the sucker itself wouldn't bother me personally, taking your child for a haircut without asking you is crossing a huge boundary and I think you need to really put your foot down here. You are the parent, she is not. She doesn't get to make big decisions without checking with you first. If this is important to you, don't doubt your beliefs; stand up for yourself and your children!
  19. vsacour

    vsacour New Member

    For the past 3 months I have been cutting the junk food out of my kids diet. I wish I would have done so sooner. I have a 4 year old and a 15 year old in which the oldest is obese. Unfortunately it's a learned behavior agreeing with an earlier post that Your mom is from a different era as so was my mother where as though she would go to get the junk food in bulk but again I don't believe it affected us as much as it do our children today. I think that you are making a great decision. However I do allow in moderation but only if we are having a gathering and the other children are having a snack I will allow because it is not very often. Unfortunately mom is going to have to understand the way of today is not the way of yesterday! Yes I know it is going to take her some time it took my mom 10 years to understand :)
  20. Jessica Adams

    Jessica Adams New Member

    Obviously you do not want your kids eating loads of junk food, we all want out families to have a healthy diet, but at the end of the day they are only kids and kids need a treat every now and again. I'm not talking about giving them cans of coke and crisps and chocolate but I mean just something tasty for them even once a week. There are plenty of treats that they can have that are not full of sugar but they wouldn't know that. There are the natural confectionery company jellies, obviously they are still not healthy food but they would be better than a lot of the junk food that is out there. I don't think that by giving them something like this every so often that it would make them want it all the time, I think they would appreciate and be happy when they did get it. We all want what is best for our kids but sometimes you have to make exceptions. That is just my opinion and how I feel about my son eating junk food, at the end of the day you are your kids mom and it is up to you what you want them to have and what you do not want them to have, everyone will have an opinion but at the end of the day you do what you feel is best.
  21. hackity

    hackity New Member

    You are definitely not depriving your children by not letting them have junk food. I'd say you're doing them a favor more than anything. When I was growing up, I was allowed to have as much junk food as I wanted, which in turn caused a lot of problems for me. I had become overweight and had little to no self control. Because I was overweight I had an extremely negative self image, which led to a lot of anxiety problems in my early adult life.

    I'm just now coming to terms with these issues, but have since switched to a healthier lifestyle (I've started running, eating healthier, cut junk food out of my diet) and I've become healthier and, for the first time in my life, I'm in great shape! So no, you're definitely not depriving your children at all. You're doing them a great favor. They'll thank you in the long run.
  22. Jrsytomato

    Jrsytomato New Member

    Well I believe that everything in moderation is the way to good health. I don't think that a soda here and there and a piece of candy at Halloween and Christmas will harm anyone more than it will be a positive addition once in a while. Besides, life is for living too and kids can't really say they've lived unless they've indulged in carnival foods once in a while! No cotton candy! No movie popcorn?! No hotdogs at a ball game? That is simply craziness to me. Let him live a little! He won't die. I promise.
  23. FrancescaB

    FrancescaB New Member

    I think you are too severe. I'm Italian and I do love to eat according to a healthy and balanced diet, however nobody can touch my Nutella!!! seriously, with a good balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle you can allow yourself small sins! With measure, obviously, but you can!

    If you prevent your kids to eat (SOMETIMES) some crap, they might react on the contrary!

    Moreover, it's important to distinguish the "good" crap from the "bad" one. For example, a small piece of bread with a bit of chocolate on it is ideal for a good and healthy snack in the afternoon! Carbohydrates and sugars are important for a child - in a good dosage!
  24. Michelle S.

    Michelle S. New Member

    I don't think your kids are missing out! They are 3 and 1! This is the time to get them "hooked" on the good stuff! My son and I both have ADHD, so we work very hard to cut out processed foods, food dyes, refined sugars. We do get slack from family & others on how we eat. I can tell you that as they get older, it does get more difficult because of peer pressure. My son is 8 and he hated when I sent him "special" treats to school on days when the other kids had birthdays and were eating junk foods. My daughter is 12, and she always complains that we have no good food - her idea of "good food" is chips and candy. It can be a tough road, but stick to your guns!!!! It's worth it for your children!
  25. scb1990

    scb1990 New Member

    Junk food is one of the best parts of being a kid. I think it is very bad to deprive your child of junk food. I think they can still eat healthy and then divulge themselves with one unhealthy snack of there choice a day or every other day.I think it gets bad if you start noticing major weight gain or health problems from the junk food then you should stop. But don't deprive your kids. Let them enjoy one of the best parts of there youth.
  26. sequence

    sequence New Member

    I think as a parent you have every responsibility to make sure you child is healthy and active. Removing junk food from their diet and even making sure junk food never enters their system is key to a healthy life. I wish my parents had that discipline themselves so that they would have instilled that in me at a very young age. So I think depriving them of junk food is the least you can do.
  27. 3amArt

    3amArt New Member

    There are a huge number of delicious treats you can make for your kids so they don't feel deprived.
    When my kids want chips (crisps) we slice sweet potatoes or potatoes super thinly and bake them in the oven- they taste fantastic.

    My kids have never had a single soda or eaten anything from McDonalds. They don't feel deprived because we've discussed it. I definitely wanted to know their thoughts and feelings on the subject.
    My daughter who is now 20, actually thanked me for never letting her get hooked on sodas or develop a taste for fast food. My daughter was almost never ill as a child, my son is 8-years old, has had less than 5 colds in his entire life. I really feel that's due in a large part to their diets.

    So that's a big "No" on the junk food issue at my house. It is not as convenient as tossing something in a microwave, but why nutritionally cheapen anything your family eats? No one has to feel deprived and you can eat healthy and eat well. :)
  28. pheenix

    pheenix New Member

    I'm glad you posted your concerns about this issue because I have similar concerns. I'm pregnant with my first child and follow a very healthy diet, with extremely limited sugars and no processed foods. Eating clean, real, healthy foods in order to live is a firm philosophy for me, and I'm hoping to pass this philosophy (and a palate for healthy foods) on to my child. I am concerned about outside influences (friends, family, daycare, school, media, etc) putting pressure on this philosophy, and I'm also concerned about being too strict and having my good intentions totally backfire! Besides refined sugar (which is toxic to our bodies), there are so many horrible chemicals and non-nutritious food items out there that are marketed towards and nonchalantly given to children that it scares me. I really don't feel that it's right to poison my child, even just a little bit once in a while, and would prefer to "treat" them with real foods like fruits and homemade goods.
    But what do I know? I've never had kids and perhaps this is all just wishful thinking! Maybe I'm a little crazy too. :D
  29. ddub1221

    ddub1221 New Member

    I think when your children are young it's necessary for you to restrict junk foods in their diet. I know my parents did. They rarely, and I mean rarely let me eat junk food and now that I'm older I thank them for that. I really believe that the way they fed me while I was growing up attributed to my generally healthy eating habits. I definitely eat more junk food now than when I did as a child but it's nothing excessive. Your kids might get weird looks from time to time for having a healthy eating habits but it'll do more good for them than drinking a can of soda every day.
  30. Marisol

    Marisol New Member

    Please don't let anyone try to convince you that you are being to strict with the foods you allow your children. I wish my parents had known better and been strict with my brother and I when we were kids. Children that grow up eating healthy diets tend to find healthy food enjoyable and don't see the need to have a treat every now and then. A treat to them will be an orange or an apple. They will still have a taste for foods that won't cause them to fall ill at an early age.

    That is not to say you can't allow them to try things, but I would keep those occasions very restricted. What I would like to try to do with my children is not simply restrict what they eat, but help them understand the reason for eating in the first place. We eat to fuel our bodies, and when you start using food as a comfort, as a social tool, and as a way to gain pleasure, it becomes quite easy to start overeating or consistently eating the wrong foods.

    If you are being ridiculed for the great choices you are making for your children, try to remember that most people frown upon it because they know they should be forcing their families to eat healthy too, and they feel bad because they aren't doing so. Don't give your children junk food just because you don't want to make other people feel bad about themselves. That is their problem to deal with.

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