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. thedow

    thedow New Member

    I think the key is in allowing children to have unhealthy foods in moderation. I had a friend in middle school who was not allowed to eat any junk food or fast food. When she was away from her parents she would binge -- completely out of control -- on any sugar she could get her hands on, which often made her sick.

    It's critical to teach kids healthy habits from a young age so that they can make responsible decisions for themselves as they grow older and as parents have less control over what they do. I think that by placing junk food in a "forbidden" zone, parents only teach their kids to want it more. Junk food in moderation or as a special treat is fine.
  2. misfitchick

    misfitchick New Member

    I certainly don't disagree with teaching kids good eating habits... But not allowing them to experience some of the things you know their friends and peers will indulge in seems to be setting them up for either becoming food snobs and/or not teaching them how to make good food choices or limit themselves at the same time. There is nothing wrong with moderation, but setting up such strict eating habits at home makes it awfully hard for kids to make good choices later, when they may not have those options available.
  3. Misspittypat

    Misspittypat New Member

    I don't think that children who don't get junk food are missing out on anything because at the end of the day most junk food is extremely unhealthy anyway. My personal opinion is that its ok to let them have these things in moderation but not every day of the week and if they are going to have them then just make sure they get appropriate amounts of healthy food and drinks and always encourage them to exercise. Some children get loads of junk food and are allowed to have it whenever they feel like it and I was one of those children so I don't advise it. In moderation and with an otherwise healthy diet and lifestyle, yes, but as a regular or daily treat then no.
  4. dazzlingblue

    dazzlingblue New Member

    If a type of food is referred to as 'junk food,' then it pretty much indicates that it's deprived of all nutrients/benefits that should be present when taking in food. So, unless you're not letting the kids eat anything, I don't think you're depriving them of anything. That said, I certainly eat those items from time to time.

    I think you can certainly take actions to get kids to not miss having junk food that comes from a drive-thru window. My stepdaughter lives with her morbidly obese mom that's certainly into junk food, so when she was with me and her father during the summer, I showed her how to cook things that may seem like 'junk food' but aren't. For example, you can make potato chips in the microwave by slicing the potatoes thin, seasoning them with whatever seasonings you want, and then placing them on a plate in a microwave. We also made tortilla chips in the oven by showing her that you can just by corn or flour tortillas and cut them in any shapes that she wants and put them in the oven to make them crispy. She really thought it was cool that those kind of items didn't have come in a bag at a grocery store. We even made our own yogurt in the slow cooker and then made smoothies with them.

    The point is, instead of just saying no to junk food, give them experiences that persuade them to choose healthier options.
  5. Dolson910

    Dolson910 New Member

    I commend you for being passionate for something you believe in. I do not think that you are depriving your children of anything when you eliminating unhealthy elements from their diet. Your family and friends should support your decision! In a time when there are so many chemicals, added hormones and GMOs in our food supply more people should take on your approach to limiting this junk from a child's diet.
  6. Bella1121

    Bella1121 New Member

    Yes and no. I think it's great that you want your kids to eat healthy, and especially at a young age it's a great thing. But I also think that depriving them too much is going to create a monster in the long run and I'll explain. I'll use an extreme as an example, look at how most Amish kids during Rumspringa act. Most of them break the law, they drink, use recreational drugs, have sex, there have been cases of incestuous rape (like I said I'm using the most extreme example that I can think of). They were deprived and then when given the chance go nuts. I agree with everyone who says that moderation is the key, but moderation also goes for too little of something. I think everyone knows at least one person who was prudishly uptight in high school and then seemed like they lost their minds with partying once they got to college. It's about giving them treats, without overdoing it. However, I think limiting them is a good thing too. I think it's horrible for your kid's grandmother to go against your wishes. Ultimately they are your children and she has to respect how you are raising them, but I think it's also equally horrible that you want to deny your children access to their grandmother over a disagreement that YOU are having with her. Don't punish them for her actions. You have to have balance. I think it's a good start that you allow your three year old a treat for special occasions, but as your children get older, I believe it is about whether they feel deprived. The first things kids, teens, adolescents, and even a lot of adults today want to do is to do what they are told that they can't.
  7. bittersensei

    bittersensei New Member

    You're only depriving them of disease and discomfort later in life. I commend you for feeding them healthful foods.
  8. KieraKelly

    KieraKelly New Member

    I have a toddler and strongly believe that he needs to have a healthy diet. I made all his baby food, he eats everything from lentils to quinoa and has a varied and nutritional diet. I don't keep unhealthy processed foods in the house, but if he is at a social function of some sort I let him have what everyone else is eating. I think that withholding food that he is seeing everyone else eat will just make him want it even more when he gets older. Everything in moderation is the key.
  9. klolo47

    klolo47 New Member

    I don't have children but I don't think so at all. I wished my mom was more strict about my diet growing up or more educated about what was in the food we were eating. She did the best tho. But this day and age with the info available to us I would do the same thing you are doing. I think its great your doing that. You can actually lengthen you life with the foods you eat and put in your body.
  10. LordShamrock

    LordShamrock New Member

    I would have to say I don't think it is horrible and I actually applaud you for this. I think it is very important to teach kids healthy eating habits. Like others have said though moderation is the key. I would say as long as they are going to get to enjoy the bad food once and a while it is fine. I am no expert in this field but I would imagine some sugary snacks on special occasions. I would imagine that would help them prevent from binging on it later in life. At least they have exposure to it but were raised to know that it is bad food.
  11. Zeholipael

    Zeholipael New Member

    I see nothing wrong with someone enjoying a little treat every now and then. What's so bad about eating something unhealthy every once in a while? Sure, we've heard of some really bad cases, but it's not as if they're eating this stuff 24/7. I really do think they're missing out, because in most people's opinions, junk food can be the tastiest food (but not too much of it. Stomach problems and all that).
  12. namaste203

    namaste203 New Member

    Your children will thank you when they are older for showing them ways to eat healthy. Its not an options these days to allow your children to have junk food. It's hard enough to find decent normal non-gmo foods to eat without confusing the waters with someone telling you to just "let go" and allow them to eat what everyone else eats. As the parent, setting a good example is your main goal what others think about it is not your problem; it is their problem. I understand where you are coming from with this issue; there is always going to be a person in your life that is attempting to put their ideals on to you or your children, it's just life. Stand strong in doing what you feel is best.
  13. supermomof

    supermomof New Member

    I may be one of a few who think that you are depriving your kid by not letting them eat junk food. I think that everybody deserves to eat a little a junk food once in a while. Unless the child is having health or weight issues I do not see anything wrong with it. I give my children a snack every day after school, sometimes they are healthy snacks and sometimes they are not so healthy. Either way I do give them a small portion of whatever I give them so that I can have some kind of control over their junk food intake. I do not allow my children to drink sodas, they are not allowed to eat certain junk food. I just do not buy the things that I do not think are good options for them. I do mostly give my children things like pretzels, fruit, cheese crackers, peanut butter crackers, popcorn, various types of nuts. Some times they may ask for a small individual snack size bag of chips, the good thing about it is that the portion is smaller than them eating out of a big bag of chips. They occasionally want fruit snacks so I buy the fruit snacks that are made out of one hundred percent fruit. I think that letting the child experience eating junk food is harmless unless they are engaging in unhealthy eating habits. If the child does not get the chance to eat junk food, they will one day experience eating junk food and then they may abuse it. Letting the child have that experience is a chance for them to know how to eat things in moderation.
  14. Tay Zach

    Tay Zach New Member

    Don't be convinced by people telling that you are depriving your kids by not giving them junk food because you are not! You are allowing them to feel their best, and avoid health complications. You are preparing a lifestyle of healthy choices that are guaranteed to benefit them in their future whether they believe it or not. Of course everyone has their guilty pleasure but those pleasures need to be consume in moderation. The key to health is moderation.
  15. sophiaseo

    sophiaseo New Member

    I do not think you are depriving your kids of junk food, but part of being a kid and enjoying youth requires candies and sweets. Although I understand that excessive junk food and sugar might be harmful, junk food and sugar in moderation will not hurt your children. But if your kids enjoy eating fruits and vegetables rather than junk food and sugar, that is better for them in the long run.
  16. surething01

    surething01 New Member

    You're the mom, you know best! Don't ever let anyone tell you differently. I think it is wise that are promoting healthy eating early on in your children's lives. You are teaching them how to make healthy choices and that healthy food can actually taste good! When they become school aged, things may get a bit tricky. They will see their friends with cream filled cakes and sugary drinks, they are going to ask for it. This is where you can possibly opt to loosen the reins, but reinforce that bad choices do have consequences, although I wouldn't consider being more physically active that much of a punishment :thumbsup:

    When they are able to understand the choices you are making for them, tell them why! Let them become part of the process of being healthy. Make it a teachable moment so it lasts throughout their lifetime. My parents were pretty liberal with letting my brother and I drink juices and sodas as kids. I still have a bad habit of grabbing a soda at lunch instead of water where I am now wishing they had put their foot down when I was younger.

    Good luck with your children, you are off to a great start!
  17. MagentaMondays

    MagentaMondays New Member

    Humans are drawn to eat sweet things from an evolutionary standpoint because the sweetest fruit found in nature had the highest calorie and nutrient content, while rotten food tasted bitter/sour (which is why most people dislike heavily bitter & sour food now). The thing is, highly processed and sugary junk food that's common today has little to no nutritional density (fiber, minerals, & vitamins) that children need to eat on a daily basis. Thus, many more children are eating these high calorie, sweet, & processed foods that actually make them deficient in fiber/minerals/vitamins and the children gain weight (because the food has no fiber in it, which triggers an "I'm full, so I can stop eating" response in the brain).

    @OP I was vegan for a year and as long as you've read a few books on nutrition (or seen a nutritionist), I am 100% in favor of diets that weed out highly processed foods, including junk food. Education is definitely an asset when fighting childhood obesity, so you might want to talk to your children when they reach early childhood (around age 5) about why they're not allowed to eat certain foods so if/when they are teased for eating alternatively at school, they can combat it with their own words and knowledge that eating healthy isn't "weird". Although I agree that children rebel, I think it's important to have another conversation with your children when they're older (maybe around 11-15) regarding why you chose to eliminate processed foods from their diet. The more education you give someone, the more likely they are to endorse a healthy lifestyle.

    I've read several studies linking processed sugar with lowered immune systems, food coloring as directly contributing to children developing ADHD, and (of course) excess sugar/fat/salt contributing to overeating, and poor body image. I think it's great that you're choosing to eliminate this from your kids' diet and I wish more parents created structure (and instilled positive habits like this) for their children at an early age by restricting processed food choices.

    I also was raised eating lots of fast food, ho-ho's, twinkies, name it. I wish that my parents had given us the option of eating more vegetables and fruit when I was younger so that I could make good choices at an early age. I eventually started cutting myself and developed bulimia in high school due to poor body image, so protecting your children (although it may not be the popular choice and you may still get your mom trying to impose her views on you) from this can only help them, in my opinion.
  18. Stephanie Boucher

    Stephanie Boucher New Member

    I don't think you're depriving them at all; in fact, I think you're doing them a huge favor. I'm also familiar with the Weston Price diet, and I've read Sally Fallon and various treatises on traditional/paleo diets and I'm totally on board. Despite all this knowledge and desire to eat "correctly," I still succumb to the temptations of fast food and junk food, precisely because I had these things when I was young and developed a taste for them.

    On the other hand, treating it like a forbidden fruit can backfire, just as telling kids to practice abstinence only and stay off drugs doesn't really help them -- in fact it can lead them to it in an act of rebellion. The best course of action, I think, is to keep them away from it as much as you can, and make sure to tell them WHY its bad for them. If it slips into their mouths, don't freak out, just try to be a good role model and introduce good food options early on.
  19. mothermaryc

    mothermaryc New Member

    Oh wow! I think we have the same mother!

    As a child, I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted. I seem to remember a year where I refused anything but cereal at any meal - Rice Krispies Treats Cereal at that! By middle school I was overweight and self-conscious. My entire adolescence was a battle with eating disorders and self-esteem. I'd starve myself for weeks, lose a ton of weight, and then go right back to eating unhealthy and gain it all back and more. I simply did not know how to make healthy choices.

    Now, as an adult, I try to give my children healthier habits. It doesn't always work - I have a 5 year old addicted to junk food. I mean, ADDICTED. The main reason? When Grandma babysits, she brings over popsicles, "fruit snacks" etc. No matter how many times I tell her that instead of popsicles, we can freeze (real, not processed) juice, and instead of "fruit snacks" we can simply stock the fridge with FRUIT, she just doesn't get the idea.

    I don't think you are out of line at all. We are not mean to eat half the stuff we think we are supposed to consume everyday (milk, anyone?? gross! that is not meant for us!)
  20. amjohnson3

    amjohnson3 New Member

    I agree! I wasn't denied junk food as a child, but I did not have a healthy relationship with food and now I am paying for it. I am currently 100 pounds away from my goal weight and have lost about 70 so far. It is no fun growing up as the fat kid, so I feel you are on the right track, king. Moderation (which everyone seems to be preaching) is really the best thing you can teach your little ones. That lesson can even be applied to other parts of their lives as they grow up (video games, television, etc.)

    Good luck with your mother and thanks for teaching your kids healthy eating habits.
  21. sbrown93117

    sbrown93117 New Member

    You are doing them a favor. The more junk food a child eats, the more they are going to crave it, leading to unhealthy choices in the future. There are so many additives in junk food that weren't there 20 years ago, like high fructose corn syrup, that are devastating to our health and to a child's development. It is good that you let them have it in moderation because you wouldn't want them to feel out of place at parties or anything like that, but if more parents made such an awesome commitment to their children's health, childhood obesity wouldn't be such big problem in the U.S. Natural foods, like fruit, can be prepared to taste even better than junk food, so I don't think you are depriving them at all.
  22. Connie McKinney

    Connie McKinney New Member

    It's OK to give your child some junk food once in a while as a special treat. Here's some advice my mother always gave me: Everything in moderation. So give your child some junk food occasionally along with the healthy stuff.
  23. Mary Beth Caires

    Mary Beth Caires New Member

    My mom never really let us have junk food when I was a kid. No Lunchables, chips, candy, cookies, soda, etc. As a result, I tended to go junk food crazy when I was out when my friends and got to decide for myself whether or not to consume junk food. I ended up gaining a bunch of weight and turned into a junk food addict. Although I thank my mom for making sure we consumed healthy foods as children, I think that her not letting us have junk food on occasion made us want it more. When we could finally get our hands on it, we had no idea how to control ourselves. When I have children, I plan on allowing them to have the foods and drinks they want. However, I also plan on teaching them self-control, portion control, and the different things those types of foods can do to your body and what healthy foods offer the body. After having this knowledge, they can decide for themselves whether or not they wish to consume. Clearly there still needs to be some parental control here because you are dealing with children, however, if you deprive them of the foods they desire all together they will not know how to properly control themselves when they choice of what to eat falls in their hands.
  24. HillaryNC

    HillaryNC New Member

    I think that obesity is rising, and what you are doing is probably a really good thing! When I was younger I didn't have access to a lot of junk food. Every second friday I was allowed to have a drink and chips or a bar. Although it's probably a good idea in today's society, it may be bad for your kids in the long run. If they don't want to stick to your diet when they get old enough to decide, then they may turn to an overload of junk food because they were "deprived" of it when they are younger! I guess it's not bad but it's not really good! Maybe a little treat every now and then wouldn't be so bad!
  25. My mother had a peculiar way of dealing with this issue when we were kids, which later on I noticed was actually very effective compared to what I saw going on in other families. She would take us shopping with her and let us get whatever we wanted. Just one package per trip usually, not enough to have unlimited supply on hand, but certainly enough to let us enjoy whatever junk food we wanted to try or whatever was trendy with the other kids at school. The only rule she applied is that we never eat after 4pm, in order to always develop a healthy appetite for dinner. Since we were always able to have the junk food we wanted, we never pined for it. Her method allowed us to satisfy the craving til the food from that particular trip ran out. We were satiated but could never really over-stuff ourselves on the junk. As a result, we never saw it as a treat or a reward. It was just something that was always there for us after a trip to the supermarket and then would run out and we would get more. It was just a fact of life. Inevitably we took it for granted and progressively lost interest in having it all the time. We knew we would always get it, routinely, no begging, nagging or good grades required. In the end, it never became an issue and we all grew up to be slender adults in good shape and good health who rarely ever indulge in junk food. We always had it until it ran out, so we lost our mad craving for it altogether.

    I've noticed quite the opposite effect with parents who try to control their kids' intake of junk. Denial creates more desire. The more they couldn't get it, the more they always wanted it, and the more they were inclined to binge on that crap. Those kids, and those who were rewarded with junk food, almost always wound up going through overweight periods. Some managed to overcome them. Others were not so fortunate. Yet I suspect that in the back of their minds, the denial factor keeps nagging them to consume this crap and it is a direct result of misguided parenting efforts to limit junk food intake during their childhood.
  26. makenakarau

    makenakarau New Member

    I strongly believe that parents should not drag their kids to their dieting habits. A little bit of junk won't do them any harm.
  27. Jennifer J.

    Jennifer J. New Member

    No way! I think it's a terrible thing to give children junk food. I know from personal experience with my children, when given lots of junk food, (namely grandma), it really ruins their taste for real food, especially vegetables. It's very frustrating to get them to eat anything, because they have developed a strong taste for sugar and salt. More importantly, is the tole it takes on a poor child's health. They struggle with keeping their teeth healthy and they get sick a lot. Junk food has such a strong power over children, just giving them a special treat is enough to ruin them. Once they get a taste for it, it's all they want. You never see kids crying and throwing a fit for more vegetables!
  28. Laura Stovall

    Laura Stovall New Member

    When considering the number of overweight children and the number of rotten teeth dentists are seeing, I would have to say no. Though, I do think parents should be reasonable and allow children healthier versions of sweet treats and snacks. Of course, keeping in mind that these sweet snacks should be controlled by parents. Allowing children to eat junk food at their own free will can lead to the development of unhealthy diets throughout their lifetimes.
  29. RickC

    RickC New Member

    KKing927, I get that you are framing this as a question about junk food, but it seems like what you're really interested in is your kids' health and well-being. And holistically, it seems like a bit of refined sugar is not going to be nearly as damaging as cutting off your kids' relationship to their grandmother. I mean, your boy is three now, so whatever you say goes, but how are you going to explain to a five-year-old that he can't spend time alone with his grandmother because you're afraid she'll give him candy? I'm pretty sure that's not a situation anyone wins in.
  30. jchaangan

    jchaangan New Member

    The best strategy for me to deprive kids of junk food is by informing them about junk food's harmful and irreversible damages to one's body. Kids in common have difficulties controlling their urges (that's why we normally get mad at then for doing bad things repeatedly). This urge originates from their acquired notion that doing a certain activity can bring enjoyment or relaxation. So this means that kids do enjoy eating junk foods because they learned that tasting them drives their palate crazy. This calls for an intervention that would remind kids that tasting junk food may be satisfying for their tongue, but not for the rest of their organs. Parents can show their kids the bad side of eating junk food through examples (i.e. "Honey, eating junk food can make your urination painful in the future"), while clearly stating their disagreement over the habit of eating these snacks. Graphic explanation and description can make the child imagine, even more, the long term effects of eating junk foods. Since children are also easily alarmed by an information that seem very harmful to them, this technique may eventually develop a mindset of averting these food stuff. This method may not work instantly. But with continuous monitoring of parents and information supply about the effects of junk food, kids may grow up hating these foods displayed almost everywhere.

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