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Why Kids Should Eat Junk Food

Why We Should Let Kids Eat More Junk Food Than You Would Think

For years, candy, cookies, and other sweet treats have been given a bad reputation. And, to be honest, it's one they deserve. Loaded with calories, fat, and sugar, these junk foods contribute to childhood obesity and diabetes. But is banning these items from our fridges and cabinets the solution to a nationwide health problem? Some experts say no. Charlotte Markey, an author and health psychology professor at Rutgers University, says depriving your children of these forbidden foods could do more harm in the long run.

"If we try to restrict too heavily we end up with kids really craving all that junk food," Markey tells The Huffington Post. As a result, they tend to eat more of it when parents aren't around, like at a friend's house or when they leave for college, making them more likely to become overweight. One of Markey's solutions to the problem involves relabeling items as "most of the time" and "sometimes" foods rather than "good" and "bad." In doing so, children will build a healthier relationship with food and be less likely to overindulge in the not-so-healthy options.

"Although I certainly don't want my kids to eat junk food [and] I don't think it's a great thing, I do think that making it forbidden fruit is bound to cause more problems in the long run," Markey says.

For more of Markey's healthy eating tips, read the full story on The Huffington Post.

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KendraPeterson1367656757 KendraPeterson1367656757 3 years

I find or make less junky versions, and network in advance with my child, other parents, and her teachers to send comparable "safe" treats to school and birthday parties. My kid still gets candy like the other kids, but hers is made with natural flavors and colors. I send cupcakes from home on days when someone will be celebrating a birthday, and the teacher has a bag of treats for her to choose from instead on days a parent brings something that hadn't been pre-arranged.

Unless you raise your child on a closed commune, they WILL know what they are missing. They won't tolerate only having friends you've chosen for them their whole loves. And by controlling what they see and do instead of working with them to willingly choose healthier options, they will almost always take that dye-filled popsicle on Field Day, or use their lunch money to buy junk, or eat the candy someone traded them at lunch, etc. Because my kid knows WHY we make the choices we do, and because I send healthier versions whenever I know something is planned in the classroom/party/etc, and she knows that I will ALWAYS make it up to her if she turned down something at school I hadn't been prepared for, my 6-year-old will say "no thank you" to offered popsicles, candy, cupcakes, chips, etc.

I was raised in a house that didn't have treats. No chips, no soda, no cookies, no donuts, no pudding, etc. We had only unbleached whole wheat flour, and granulated fructose instead of sugar. Dinners always included a salad AND a vegetable side. We'd have ice cream on occasion, and my dad would only buy sugary cereal, root beer, and pudding cups as special treats for our bi-annual camping trips. And for a birthday or all-As report card, that child could pick a fast-food restaurant where we could choose a soda OR a dessert.
We were raised on healthy whole foods. And yet each week, I would spend all my allowance on candy bars or sugar cereal. When I moved out, I ate almost nothing but junk and fast food for 20 years. BECAUSE I COULD. It wasn't until I had my first child and was looking to feed her healthy options that I started changing what I ate too.

KendraPeterson1367656757 KendraPeterson1367656757 3 years

Until someone brings cupcakes to school... or they exchange Valentines... or want to go trick-or-treating at all the houses on your block...

KendraPeterson1367656757 KendraPeterson1367656757 3 years

But why not healthier versions of "garbage?" I make some pretty great whole-grain gluten-free vegan "Oreos" that my kids prefer to the store-bought brands. They feel like they're getting a treat just like the other kids, and I don't feel like I had to compromise on ingredients.
This article isn't advocating letting kids have specific BRANDS. They're saying not to ban all sweets and treats just because of the sugar or fat. I allow sweet treats sometimes, and make or buy healthier versions of familiar treats (Surf Sweets organic dye-free vegan gummy bears and jelly beans instead of Trolli and Jelly Belly, Lovely fruit chews instead of Starburst, Cocomels vegan caramels instead of Kraft, dye-free candy canes, etc) and my kids still feel like they can fit in without me having to feed them tons of junk.

CynthiaDailey CynthiaDailey 3 years

Good luck with that when your kids are at school. They do miss what they don't have when they see other children with it and it's plastered all over television. Yes in a perfect world there would be no junk food or sweets but let's face it, this world is anything but perfect. Depriving your children of what they see everyone else having is only going to make them want it all that much more. Even if you don't see them eating these things I can almost guarantee you that they are in fact eating them when they either trade for them at school, they come in the school lunch, or friends bring extra for them to school.

CynthiaDailey CynthiaDailey 3 years

That isn't at all true. My daughter eats very nutritious food every day. I make sure she eats from every food group and she isn't allowed to gobble tons of junk food though I don't completely ban her from it either. Despite all of this she still has cravings sometimes. Cravings aren't simply due to eating the right food or not. Cravings can be psychological as well as physical and can be the source of poor diet or from the body not properly utilizing certain things we eat and drink no matter how good for us that food or beverage is.

TerriLynnMerritts TerriLynnMerritts 3 years

We home birth, home school, and are vegans. We have loads of vegan friends and all of us make luscious sugar free cakes, pies, cookies, gelatos, fruit bars, candy and other goodies. We also snack on a lot of fruit, nuts, and other natural treats. It is never good to give kids garbage so they can feel like they can fit in. Let them be the trendsetters. If other kids were experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine, or sex would you encourage them to fit in just because others do it?

jmontez33 jmontez33 3 years

Donuts! Nom nom nom

MichaelThatswho1380242432 MichaelThatswho1380242432 3 years

I am not into psychologists, for one thing. Also, you don't teach a child what they can't have. They teach them what TO have. And being an example, as well as instructing them,
would be the greatest teacher.

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