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The Last Time I Really Enjoyed a Candy Bar I Was Seven

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to some childhood habits like eating junk food. A chocolate bar tastes ten times better when you don't know how many calories it has or care. Kids pick their favorite flavor of ice cream based on the color or amount of bubble gum chunks it contains. As adults we worry about food dye, processing, trans-fats, sugar, sodium and whatever other substance is headlined in the articles we devour and then decide to limit from our lil ones.

A recent New York Times article explored food worries and potential eating issues in today's children. While an 8-year-old stresses about sodium increasing his heart rate — his mother was proud of his nutritional awareness. The report said:

While scarcely any expert would criticize parents for paying attention to children’s diets, many doctors, dietitians and eating disorder specialists worry that some parents are becoming overzealous, even obsessive, in efforts to engender good eating habits in children. With the best of intentions, these parents may be creating an unhealthy aura around food.

I primarily feed my tots an organic and non-processed diet, but every blue moon — I let them have cake for breakfast. How do you balance this with your kids?

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Join The Conversation
MaggieLei MaggieLei 8 years
My six-year-old nephew recently told me that he needed to leave food on his plate so he wouldn't "get fat." He is a growing boy who really needs to eat! Both his parents have struggled horribly with their weight and never resolved how to be healthy themselves. That conversation really made me think. I let my son have a cookie whenever it comes up (maybe once a week) and I let him have a smoothie and hot dog when we go to Costco, but we eat home-made foods from good, local sources at home. I am careful, though, not to make him eat things he doesn't like. He hates tomatoes, so I put some other veggie on his plate that he does like. I'm not going to force a dumb issue.
SKC-Sparkle SKC-Sparkle 8 years
How is it healthy to have an 8 year old stressing about sodium? And why was his mother proud? Since when is it okay to turn our children into mini-adults? Why not teach your children the value of healthy eating and the time and place for indulgences?
Roarman Roarman 8 years
To me the worst thing parents do is ban all junk food. It just makes it that much more enticing and adds a stigma to food that is unhealthy. The best thing to do is offer a variety of different foods from early on and model the behavior you want your children to follow. Eventually they fall in line and grow up to have a healthy relationship with food. But a candybar or cookie here and there never killed anyone.
kikidawn kikidawn 8 years
I feel the same exact way meandtheo. I want my daughter (if I have one) to not see me folding to the pressure of society to look a certain way.
meandtheo meandtheo 8 years
i think it is very important to teach our children what is healthy food and what is not. it is equally as important to teach children that it is okay to have special treats occasionally (like cake for breakfast)...i believe that this can be accomplished without teaching them about calories, sodium, fat content blah blah. it is a very tricky balance, especially with girls...i never want my daughter to hear me speak badly about myself or say things like i am fat or on a diet.
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