Being Too Restrictive With Kids' Diets Could Backfire


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  150 comments   :  25,040 Views

I've written many blogs where I talk about trying to provide my kids with a diet that is as healthy as possible. Sometimes I get strange looks from family and friends when they see what my almost-3-year-old eats for lunch. I think my choices have made veggies and other healthy foods a normal part of her day. She doesn't question why she's having broccoli with her sandwich because she likes it. But I will be honest, for a while after I stopped nursing and she started eating like a "real" person, I got VERY stressed out about her diet. I never wanted her to have anything that was too high in salt, too high in sugar, too processed, etc. I felt like she could never eat what everyone else was having. She didn't notice when she was younger, but as she got a little older and all of the other kids were having juice and chips, she didn't understand why she wasn't having some too. That's when I decided that unless I wanted to alienate her and give her a complex about food, I needed to relax a little.

Don't get me wrong- I'm still pretty strict about what she eats at home or what we'll order off of the kids menu at a restaurant. But new research from the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University shows that being too restrictive about the foods children eat can actually cause more weight gain. The highest weight gain was among girls who considered their parents most restrictive about eating certain foods. The study followed 200 girls from age 5 through age 15.

Although it's easy to control things when they are younger, eventually your kids start going to play dates, school and other places where you're not around to monitor every bite they take. And kids who have very restrictive diets at home are more likely to go crazy with junk food when mom's not looking. So I've loosened up a little, and decided to teach my kids the importance of healthy foods, both by what I serve them and what I eat myself. But I also want them to understand that treats are okay now and then, and if your friend is having some M&M's and you'd like to enjoy them with her, it's not the end of the world.

What do you think?

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  • TNELLY37
    You have to be careful. I actually knew someone who developed anorexia and bulimia because her parents were too controlling with not only what she ate, but everything else. She almost died because she got down to about 75 lbs. It took serious intervention and years of counseling. The mom realized that she too was suffering from an eating disorder. A parent needs to encourage healthy eating, without pressuring their children to be perfect, or telling them that food is the enemy. Encourage a balanced diet and even include desert in moderation. You have to do what you can because there are a lot of bad, pro-anorexia websites out there. - 5/29/2012   4:38:22 PM
  • MITCH012011
    With my 4-year-old boy we've tried to avoid having him make the association that sweets were a "special treat", and we do not use food as a reward. If it was available, he could have it, but we always explained that it isn't a healthy food, and that he shouldn't have too much. That's all. As of now, he likes sweets, cakes and cookies, but just as much as other healthier options. I like that he doesn't eat them just because they're available (say, at a party), and will not eat them when he's not hungry. (When he starts to ask for them, I also provide him with healthier, "real" food, as I know it means he's hungry, and he will eat them together.) It's an idea I picked up from Sparkpeople, actually--- not using food as a reward, and honoring our body's needs as well as pleasures. - 5/22/2012   7:52:11 AM
    My parents were waaaaayyyyy too restrictive with me and as a result my health tanked when I got older. Why? Because my parents wouldn't let me eat anything with sugar in it. We also didn't get a lot of meat. So I went to college and went crazy. Pints of ice cream every night, candy bars almost everyday and snack cakes to my delight. I didn't learn limits. These aren't healthy foods, but parents have a chance to introduce these foods in a responsible manner so that deprivation doesn't set in. - 4/11/2012   12:27:22 PM
  • 147
    Kids need to learn moderation as much as adults do. They shouldn't be allowed to eat junk all day long, just like as an adult, I need to control myself and not eat junk all day. But if I really need a cookie, you bet I share. And I do allow treats that are brought home from school or on holidays. We don't eat a massive amount or all the treats, we pick what we want and either trash the rest of give it to friends. Or the homeless man on the corner. (usually they are meth addicts in this town and they appreciate the sweets almost as much as they would appreciate another fix) - 2/19/2012   2:31:09 PM
  • 146
    I'm a teacher, and I just had a meeting with a parent who was very concerned because her 10-year-old daughter is getting too involved with running long distances, eating healthy, and worrying about whether the thickness on her thighs is muscle or fat (she is a tiny peanut). This mom said she raised her kids to be healthy and worries that maybe she went too far with it. - 11/11/2011   2:22:47 PM
  • 145
    I also went to the strict extreme with my oldest child and have slowly found a more balanced approach as she and my son have grown a little bit (4 & 3 yrs). As a rite of passage with age, they get occasional candy (bank runs, special treats, etc.). We are not a family that has a fancy dessert with every dinner, but if the children have no problems at naptime, then they get "dessert" after dinner. Dessert may just be one piece of chocolate or cookie or jello or ice cream or a very small serving of a prepared dessert if we actually have one. My favorite thing is when dessert is something with real fruit in it since it's good for them too. NOTE: I do NOT deprive them of any fruit dish such as fruit cocktail or strawberries if they have a problem at naptime...fruit is not considered dessert for that reason alone. Fruit is good for them and is treated as another dish at lunch or dinner, not a dessert that can be taken away. - 5/15/2011   10:10:53 PM
    My daughter gets ice cream as a special treat, and my parents tend to spoil her too much with sweets. She pretty much eats lean meats, veggies, fruits, and peanut butter (loads of it!). Honestly, she eats better than most of the people I know, but it is her choice. Luckily, she has a great appetite and enjoys healthy foods. I do credit my insistence that she try new foods to help this. She knows she has to TRY new foods, she doesn't have to like them, and she isn't required to eat them if she doesn't like them. The point is to encourage her to TRY, and she is normally open to taking a bite. - 4/3/2011   11:04:22 AM
  • 143
    Right on! All things in moderation. We want to send healthy kids out into the world, but without the extra baggage of "weirdness" that is SO EASILY SPOTTED among their peers. Your present attitude makes sense and after all, don't we also want to help our children make healthy and wise choices? The Bible says:"Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it." Keep up the good work. - 3/17/2011   4:59:22 PM
  • 142
    I think you have made a wise choice. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time. - 2/25/2011   11:54:35 AM
  • 141
    I totally agree. When my kids were little I gave them choices and encouraged them to only eat when they were hungry. Growing up in a family of obesity, I wanted my kids to be active, make healthy food choices, and escape the emotional eating. My kids are teenagers now and are very aware of what is healthy and try to eat healthy, however, they will enjoy some things that are not so healthy. They have friends whose parents severely restricted their food choices. Those are the kids who come to our house and gorge on all the taboo foods that they are not allowed at home. - 2/5/2011   7:53:25 PM
  • 140
    When I was younger, my parents weren't necessarily strict due to wanted me to have proper nutrition it was more of a budget issue. I dodn't know why we didn't have McDonald's or chips or sodas as oftern as I thought other people were having them. As a result when I was old enough to have my own money, I always bought things I felt I was deprived of when I was younger. I ate too many fast food meals, too much junk food. Now I try to offer my kids healthy food and we eat unhealthy fast foods no more than once a week. Most of the time they would reather a homemade healthier meal than anything else! - 8/25/2010   11:18:01 AM
  • 139
    Teaching kids to realize a treat, is a treat is important. Ice cream is something special, and they shouldn't be denied it anymore than any adult should be. Balance and moderation are so important that with this, and with anything in life kids need to understand it. - 7/19/2010   12:12:40 PM
  • 138
    I totally agree that we must loosen up a little bit when it comes to our children and what they eat, but at the same time, you have children that even though you teach them healthier options, they are still sneaking snacks when you tell them they can't have snacks and still eating poorly. I used to be much stricter on what my 10 year old son was eating, then the counselor said we need to not look at it as a diet, but rather talk to him about eating healthier foods. We put healthy foods on the supper table, but I would say 99.9% of what we put on the table he doesn't want to eat. Then he wants to eat junk food for snacks all that time. So we ended up putting a lock on our pantry because he was sneaking the stuff all the time. He would get up in the middle of the night when were sleeping and eat it. So sometimes you wonder, "what really is the solution? " - 7/9/2010   9:40:20 AM
  • 137
    I totally agree with your blog. Like you, I took great care in introducing my daughter to a variety of healthy choices from the time she began eating solids. It was always fruits/veggies/lean meats/soy milk, etc. My friends with young children would always ask me how did you get her to eat (fill in the healthy food) because their children were only eating chicken nuggets, hot dogs, mac n cheese, etc. I told them that it was a simple matter of introduction. I told them if you introduce these things to children at a young age, they will like the majority of what they receive because they have not been "spoiled" by processed junk yet, so they have no basis of comparison. Another thing that can effect your child's opinion about something is yours. I have one friend who hates veggies yet she can't understand why her kids don't want to eat them??
    My main reason for taking this approach with my daughter is because I have struggled with my weight my whole life and I didn't want her to be burdened by the same issues. I wanted her to learn early what healthy choices are and why it is best for your body to make these the main parts of your diet and only have the "not so good" stuff occassionally.
    I also agree that balance is key. Restricting the treats that all kids are drawn to (ice cream, cookies, etc.) can only lead to them feeling the need to sneak it or overindulge when they have the opportunity. - 6/30/2010   8:59:56 AM
    I introduced my now 6 year old to many healthy foods (and still am) we do not have sweets in the house except for an occasional container of ice cream. BUT he had plenty of opportunity to discover the joys of cheetohs and other stuff at gramma's and his dad's houses. I did not react when he told me that he had sugared cereal at his dad's- we just went back to our usual foods. Fast forward- he hates pop because it is "too sweet" and most candy. His favorite drink- water. - 6/19/2010   8:50:55 AM
  • 135
    I agree totally with that. My mom was very strict about not having candy, sugared cereal and lots of sweet treats when we were younger and we just found ways to get them ourselves when we got older. I went crazy with these things when I was able to get them myself which I think might have been avoided if I'd been allowed to have them once in a while when I was younger. I let my kids have some things--but offset them with lots of healthy things. I mix sugared cereal with plain. They love fruit and many veggies. We eat whole wheat bread and pasta. My daughter actually seems to prefer water over other drinks (one thing I'm pretty strict on is pop--they can have sprite or 7-up, but usually only when we're out and only once a week if that. No caffeinated drinks) They are both really active and healthy, but also watch tv. I think everything in moderation is best. - 5/22/2010   7:57:43 AM
    My SIL didn't allow her kids to have candy. One day I saw her son come out of the grocery store (AGE12) with a bag of sprinkles, Nestles morsels and a can of frosting. He wasn't allowed candy but figured it didn't count if it came from the bake - 5/19/2010   7:53:06 PM
  • 133
    I agree. You don't teach a kid to drive a car by prohibiting them from being in one. No, you take them out and show them how to do it right. You can't expect them to get behind the wheel for their driver's test and not crash if you've never taught them how do do it for themselves. Same thing with food. Parents need to teach their kids how to eat right in the "real world," not prohibit them from it and expect them not to crash when they leave home. - 5/18/2010   12:36:29 PM
    When I was in the sixth grade, I was only 10 pounds overweight. This measure was determined by the archaic weight chart that did not factor height into the equation, just age and weight. I was taller than most of the kids in my class. That was what contributed to the extra 10 pounds. All my mother head was overweight; she immediately restricted my diet and tried to find a girdle for me. I was 11 years old. My cousin, who was a nurse, told her that she was out of her mind and that her "diet" would ruin how I approached eating for the rest of my life.

    I was a healthy eater, for the most part. I loved fruit & veggies (except when the veggies were boiled until unrecognizable). I ate more salad at dinner than anything else. My mom thought that that was unhealthy and pushed me to eat more meats and starches. I do love pasta. I did know when to stop, but Mom's house was part of the "Children are starving in (insert yout third-world country here). You should be grateful and finish everything on your plate" club. Odd juxtaposition, no? She wanted me thin, but wanted me to clean my plate.

    I still struggle with weight to this day and have matabolic issues from the crazy diets Mom put me on until I was 17 years old. Now, I do all my own cooking and eat only what I want in moderation. I don't deny myself any foods and don't over-indulge, except for my veggie pig-outs. - 5/18/2010   12:14:13 PM
    This is very true. I tried to do the same but as my daughter got older, the children swap snacks at school and even teachers passed out candy as a reward!. I found if I made no big deal about it , but made sure her snack and meals at home were healthy.. it kinda evens out. - 5/17/2010   7:11:59 AM
    This article is so true! My mother used to lock up any "junk" food (seriously, with a lock and key!) Whenever I was out with friends I couldn't wait to eat the stuff. When I left home it was liberating to be able to buy whatever I wanted and I did! I completely agree that being too strict will only harm your children in the future. - 5/16/2010   5:05:27 PM
  • 129
    I want my 2 1/2 year old son to grow up eating healthy. But I don't want to be extreme. He also has celiac disease, so now I really have to read every label. Doing so, opened up my eyes to processed foods. Everyone knows they're not good for you, but when you start reading the ingredients over and over, you really start not wanting them. Obviously, my son doesn't share the same thoughts as me and, as any kid his age, wants treats and snacks. I try to make sure that for his meals, he gets something from each food group. He likes eating broccoli (or "little trees" as he calls them), steamed carrots, peas and corn. I certainly cannot complain. He has grown to love water as a drink, though he can have one cup of diluted juice. But he also gets cookies, a little chocolate, and ice cream. We try to make sure he doesn't get too much of it, but we do allow him to enjoy these treats as well. And because he can't eat any gluten, we don't have worry so much about the food he will indulge on when we are out and about, visiting, or dining out. We have to worry about what he CAN eat and have to always make sure we have some kind of snack with us. - 5/14/2010   12:28:23 PM
    Thanks! Great blog! - 5/12/2010   12:11:45 PM
  • 127
    I agree 100% so with her ham&turkey & side or brocoli give her some baked chips & 100% juice :) lol...I'm the same way with my kids,maybe not as strict,but their nutrition is always in the fore front of my mind - 5/11/2010   1:42:44 PM
    I totally agree!! My daughter and her family were on vacation lately, and my 5 year old Granddaughter was going to order a meal off the menu, and was worrying about which meal had the least amount of calories. My daughter (her Mom) realized that she was too vocal with her worries, and passing it on to her daughter. - 4/28/2010   11:52:16 AM
    My kids eat healthy most of the time at home. When they go to birthday parties etc, I let them eat pizza, soda, chips, cake etc and dont make a big deal. I never say "dont eat this" or "this is bad food". I have told them that all foods are good but we can eat some of them all the time whereas the others need to be eaten once in a while as they are not as good for our health as the others. I think it is important we teach our kids good eating habits without banning any particular ones (I'd rather teach them to eat the good stuff more often and the not so good ones less often). I remember I once saw a little girl at a party who was begging her father to let her drink soda and he was saying No. I felt he was getting a pleasure out of being able to control her (he had shared custody of the child). - 4/20/2010   2:44:31 PM
  • 124
    OK, so why am I an emotional eater? Sorta doesn't make sense if you consider my upbringing...

    Mom cooked from healthy whole foods the whole I time I grew up. Processed foods were considered a treat; not much was around except for some cookies and ice cream. When getting together with friends, I helped myself to junk foods as much as I wanted and really enjoyed them, and never gained weight until I hit 40 yrs. Later, as an adult, I can be a glutton, which has led to being overweight. Only my brother, when he was younger, had a weight problem of the whole family. Years later, the rest of my 4 siblings are suffering from hypertension, as did Mom and Dad. 2 of my siblings are overweight (not obese), the other 2 just slightly overweight.

    I grew up next to my uncles family of 5 girls. My aunt was a health nut, and kept no processed treats in the house. Almost daily, my cousins would come over and beg a cookie, as Mom usually always had them in the house. Of the 6 adult cousins, all of them are at healthy weights and look terrific.

    In both cases, all of us kids were pretty active growing up. We didn't watch much tv and our sedentery activities centered almost exclusively on sitting and reading books. In both families, we were allowed to only eat 3 square healthy meals and a bedtime snack. You made sure you didn't miss meal time.

    - 3/23/2010   5:47:20 AM
  • 123
    My daughter has a friend whose mother tends to work from extremes. It has not been positive for her daughter because now she sneaks food and eats a LOT of sweets when given a chance.
    I wish people would realize that balance in all things is the ongoing challenge of life!
    As my kids get older, I try not to say "no" to everything "bad". Rather I attempt to educate them or at least suggest that they can have "that" if they also take "this", and then I tell them why. I try to keep it in the science of carbs, fats, proteins, etc.
    I also do not make the point(s) in front of their friends. - 3/22/2010   8:31:38 PM
  • 122
    As a child, my mother had a very strict diet based on fruits and vegetables. We ate deserts rarely, usually on weekends, and there was no soda and such. Well, once I got to the end of elementary school and we started eating lunch at school, I began trading my apples for chocolate with friends. That is why I gained a lot of weight. I think that if my mother had introduced us to the "bad foods" and let us have them more regularly, I wouldn't have eaten 1-2 chocolate bars per day in high school. Obviously she meant well, but I think this article makes a lot of sense!!! - 3/22/2010   9:41:49 AM
  • 121
    When my children were little, I ensured they got healthy food. Fruit was usually our dessert and cookies were homemade with reduced sugar and salt. As they grew they maintained these standards and now I see my son's little girls asking for fresh fruit over cookies and cake for dessert. Despite the outside influences, our children learn from our example. They will eat "junk food" but not to the extreem. Special treats need to be special and things like out of season fruit or veggies. They have always been our special treats. I am happy to see this move into the next generation with my kids. - 3/22/2010   8:57:35 AM
    I struggle with this myself. My daughter is almost 14 months old and has starting eating the same meals that my husband and I eat - when I let her. I am flabberghasted by my friends who are giving their kids of the same age chicken nuggets and fries. I cheered when my daughter completely balked at her first birthday cake. I don't want to be super restrictive, and I'm getting better about it. I let her have a few licks of a soft serve cone I had the other day, but I still don't plan on getting her started on nuggets and fries any time soon. - 3/16/2010   6:32:40 PM
  • 119
    I think it's best to manage what the kids eat during the week and on weekends let them have candy and treats, then that way they get to eat it some, but it's like a treat and not an every day thing. When I was growing up we ate healthy home made food not processed stuff and no junk food during the week but Saturdays was OUR day where we got our allowence and went to buy candy and junk from the store and we could also have some McDonalds or home made hamburgers & french fries or pizza for dinner. We loved Saturdays! But during the week it was eating healthy foods no junk and no candy. So that way we did not need to become closet eaters we just knew we had to wait till the weekend to get some treats then burn it off during the week while we ate healthy foods. I think that's a good plan and allows some treats but still teaches how to eat healthy. That way the kids know it's coming and don't need to pig out they know they can get some treats on the weekend. - 3/3/2010   5:44:43 AM
  • 118
    "One thing i have difficulty all the time with is portion control...
    the kid wants to eat non-stop and gets emotional when he is told no.. (he will eat cereal, or eggs and toast, then wants bread, then more cerel, then lunch after eating breakfast right away. then a snack, then more bread, then dinner..(keep asking even though he is is full, seriously his stomach expands, gets tight, . he will eat until he throws up.. done it several times.) He doesn't understand when he is full... any help ... message me plz "

    It may be hard but don't let him eat like that even if he cries & has tantrums etc. You are not starving him so it's best to break that now before it really becomes an ingrained habit in him. You are not abusing him or mistreating him by not letting him eat constantly, just like how you teach him healthy verses junk teach him that eating constantly is not good for him also. It does sound like that can develope into emotional eating that will become a problem if left unchecked. You just have to buckle down and say no. - 3/3/2010   5:25:45 AM
  • 117
    I agree with this article. Making sure to feed a kid a healthy balanced diet without too much junk food is best, but at the same time don't be so obsessive and overly strict about it. If the kid is with friends and they all go out for a treat at dairy queen or something, let the kid have ice cream with his freinds, if he's at a party let him eat cake etc. But on a regular daily basis be sure to let him eat a healthy diet without a lot of junk and sugar. Don't even have junk in the house. Treats are a once in a while thing or maybe just a weekend thing like how I was raised, but definately not a daily thing where you eat chips and pop every single day. And definately no steady daily diet of microwavable overly processed foods, meals should be healthy non microwave stuff. And definately lots of vegetables. - 3/3/2010   5:15:48 AM
  • 116
    I don't know about being "too" restrictive, but I believe we should teach our children healthy eating and hold them too it for as long as possible. My sons' eating habits are validation that my methods work. They love fruits and vegetables, don't have a taste for candy or pastry, and have a solid awareness of healthy vs junk foods. - 2/16/2010   3:52:23 PM
  • 115
    i agree with both sides of this...
    just because my friends son is drinking red pop and kool aid at age 3 doesn't mean I am going to let this happen... red dye causes hypersensitivity in boys, and parents wonder why their kid isn't listening to them... b/c of all the sugary foods..(not to mention what it does to their teeth!)
    as of now, my son will pick good foods over unhealthy ones, even if kids around him aren't... he will say, "that isn't good for me" (i lead by example )
    sure alot of parent ask why i wont give him what everyone else wants to give their kids, simply b/c he should be taught a healthy diet in a healthy way (not it will make you fat to eat that.).;
    sure a couple mm's wont hurt... but there are some things that i think we should put our foot down on (pop, and more than 1 or 2 junks a day) b/c a healthy, behaved, and smart kid, is better than having one like everyone else...
    (ever notice what some of those treats do to your kid?)
    He is only 3 now, but i pray that these things i am teaching him become habit, and wont have to worry about him becoming a "closet" eater.
    One thing i have difficulty all the time with is portion control...
    the kid wants to eat non-stop and gets emotional when he is told no.. (he will eat cereal, or eggs and toast, then wants bread, then more cerel, then lunch after eating breakfast right away. then a snack, then more bread, then dinner..(keep asking even though he is is full, seriously his stomach expands, gets tight, . he will eat until he throws up.. done it several times.) He doesn't understand when he is full... any help ... message me plz - 2/12/2010   12:18:46 PM
  • 114
    We can teach our children the right things, but as they get older you can't make them do the right things. Just pray that the things you have taught them and shown them through your example will rub off on them. - 2/10/2010   12:51:54 PM
    I have found a happy medium with my six year old in regards to fun food vs health food. (by fun i mean pizza hotdogs and such) I have found that as he has gotten older he is making better decisions. I always let him feel like he had a say in the food around the house, and he has always choosen plenty of fruits, vegitables, and treats like fat free wheat thins. Now that he is older he will usually pick water over soda, corn over candy, and fresh fruit over pastries any day. I never force it and when he does ask for something like a sucker it's hard to tell him no since he eats so well most of the time. He has even taught his friends to eat better! - 2/10/2010   11:13:05 AM
  • 112
    I totally agree that it backfires...those that the parents watch constantly and keep them from eating the foods they want...they become closet eaters...I was one of those. Mom says you'll get fat if you eat that...etc, once Mom runs errands...lil me is eating all the foods that I can't have while she's home. I know it was not her intention, but one cookie rather than 2 or more...would have been more pleasant than hearing how fat I'm getting. Vicious circle...Needless to say...I moved out 3 months before my 18th the time I turned 18 I had taken off 40 or so lbs...without deprivation, I began to eat what I wanted when I wanted...when I was longer had a watchdog...
    Same went for my ex sister in law...she did it to her eldest daughter all the time...I kept advising her that one cookie is better than none in this situation...she didn't believe me. I told her she'll slim down after she moves out of here...she again didn't believe me...when it happened...she was finally glad to sit down and talk about what a closet eater is
    It's okay to encourage a person to have less bad foods, but don't try to remove them completely. - 2/10/2010   7:15:57 AM
  • 111
    I have to agree with the writer of this blog (Jen Mueller?). Because I have struggled with my weight my entire life, I decided at the onset of introduction of 'normal' food to my son, that he would eat healthy, with the same results; no questions about broccoli instead of chips, and milk instead of fruit juice. No questions, until the other kids around him were getting juice and less healthy snacks. So, I loosened up a bit. I figured, he is on my time/food choices more than he is with others, I make sure on my time he is eating healthy. But I have to say, I have seen my son on more than 1, 2 or 3+ occassions grab a handful of grapes at a get together vs a handfull of M&Ms. - 2/2/2010   12:06:21 PM
    My parents restricted my food and commented on how big I was all the time. The thing is, I never was fat as a child - just taller and with a broader skelletal structure. Their constant focus on my body has left lasting damage - an eating disorder, an 150+ pounds extra weight, and PTSD that still limits my life. - 1/5/2010   2:40:39 AM
  • 109
    I just found this blog, but I really couldn't agree more. I have never been too over the top and I have 4 healthy weight children. We are working at choosing better options and I have noticed that my children often follow my example. I have also noticed that their friends who have very restricted diets are often sugar addicts when they are outside of the care of their parents. One of my daughter's friends (who is a teenager now) ate 5 cupcakes at a party.

    Teaching our children by our own examples is most important, by #1 including lots of veggies and fruits and avoiding processed foods and #2 also by teaching them about eating in moderation. Two lessons that will take them a long way in living a healthy lifestyle in the future. - 12/13/2009   2:03:50 PM
  • 108
    We actually had a problem in my household for a while because though I embrace healthy eating whole heartedly my DH does not and it kind of puts the kids in the middle. I finally sat down and explained to them all that I wanted our children to have something I never had about food: Knowledge. I didn't want to stop them from candy and junk (I mean come on we all crave it once in a while) but I did want them to limit how much they consumed. I didn't want them to starve themselves, but I did want them to learn about portion control and eating til satiated, not full. And most of all I wanted them to understand what they were putting in their bodies and the benefits or setbacks of their choices. Once everyone understood where I was coming from, they (meaning the kids) embraced it. They have deserts (in the form of thier fave sweets) about twice a week. They are quicker to reach for fruit now than they are for chips and they drink water during the day as a challenge to me, to see who can drink the most. I can't remember the last time they asked for kool-aid. So yeah I don't think being restrictive is the way to go, but educating your kids is definitely important. Give them the option to be healthy. - 11/14/2009   7:57:38 AM
  • MROGERS0325
    I agree that it's fine to relax a little, but it is also important to stick to your choices as a parent and explain to your kids that these types of foods (juice, chips, etc.) are to be eaten in moderation. It's definitely all about balance... - 11/12/2009   6:47:42 AM
  • 106
    I agree. I knew some girls in 6th grade whose parents would not allow them to eat candy. So what did they do? They shoplifted candy from the convenience store the bus dropped them off at, and then ate it on the way home. I was the same way with my children when they were toddlers, but as they grew older they decided they would not eat the healthy fruits and veggies anymore. It's been a battle ever since. :( - 11/8/2009   11:48:46 PM
    Great point! I agree that when parents are too strict with food, they do not realize that the kids will eventually taste that food and will more than likely overeat those foods that they were denied. My parents did not let us eat processed or unnatural foods AT ALL (no resturaunts, fast food or anything that was not pure and home made). When I went to college, I pigged out on everything I had never tried. It took me years to realize that I need to just eat small portions of these unhealthy foods. It took me a while to get it all under control! So, give your kids some treats already!! - 10/26/2009   2:28:33 PM
    Moderation is the key. Extreme often backfires. - 10/24/2009   10:07:54 AM
  • 103
    I think leaning moderation at a young age is the way to go - 10/23/2009   6:17:47 PM
  • 102
    My aunt used to be very strict with her kids. As a result, everytime she dropped them off at our house for babysitting, the daughter would start bugging us for sweets as soon as her mom left. She knew exactly where the treats were stored. Practically went nuts & dragged me out of the house to chase the ice cream man one time when she was about 4. And she did end up with weight problems. - 9/24/2009   4:53:24 AM
  • 101
    When I was a child we never had pop, sugary cereal or snacks.. other then maybe pretzels and air pop popcorn in the house. I grew up loving (and still do!) fruits and veggies. However I was allowed a treat every now and then. I don't feel like I was deprived as a child, but instead I feel thankful that because of all the fruits and veggies I ate as a child.. they are many days when I would rather eat a salad over anything else. - 9/21/2009   12:00:12 PM

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