Depriving Kids of Junk Versus Feeding Them It for Convenience

“These days, being a ‘healthy eater’ is to be abnormal. To feed your kids healthy food is to be a mother who is depriving her kids of their childhood. It is convenient to give kids what one is certain they will eat instead of what they should eat.” ~ Wendy of RNK Africa

When I saw this quote, it rang true to me. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten and still get looks from people when I don’t want my kids eating foods high in sugar and or loaded with chemicals. Sorry folks, I am interested in heath and building my children’s bodies to be strong; I am not interested in feeding them foods that will break it down. I realize that friends and family members may, at times, find this inconvenient as for some reason, food seems to be the universal way of spoiling a child and making them feel special, but there are much more appropriate and meaningful ways to achieve the same goal.

And for those who will read this and say, everything in moderation, I don’t necessarily disagree (unless you have a child who is clearly sensitive to these foods, like I do). It’s not like my children don’t get special treats; they do. They just get the “better for you” forms of them. It’s always quite clear to me when an hour after my son gets home after not being with me, if he’s had something that he shouldn’t have. He cannot control his emotions or behavior and he flips out, leaving myself and my other children to deal with it. That one (or 10) cookies, ice cream, what have you, is not worth what it does to him nor my immediate family (artificial chocolate (versus pure chocolate without added junk) and food dyes do it in for him). My daughter, on the other hand, is not sensitive to the foods in the same way as my son and it isn’t so much of an issue with her. 

I put this quote out there to the RNK FB community and I loved the reposes, so I thought I would share them here. Feel free to add your own response in the comments. 

Amber: Agree, but I also think it’s okay to give them the unhealthy treats once in a while. If they’re eating healthy 90% of the time, then I think it’s okay to let them eat what they want the other 10%.

Sara: Well my 3 year old prefers dates over candy so :)

Liz: It is a struggle, especially because we are a generation who hates to tell our kids No. But the easy/convenient way is rarely the best way–it’s our job to teach them moderation and healthy habits!

Kristin: Yes, I’ve heard the “deprivation” argument. Have even been called a “hippie”. And that’s ok. I’ve never *forced* my choices on anyone else…so I’m not sure why I get criticized (I have always been fine bringing along our own food/snacks/drinks–no big deal! Don’t go and rearrange your menu for us–please!) *We* choose to steer clear of artificial ingredients (and even some of those “natural ” ones). *We* choose to support local eateries and grocers that offer “real” food from local/organic farms. Yes, we still eat candy and “junk food” from time to time because it is more convenient. But my boys have never said they feel like they’re missing out on fun times because of the food choices we make (at least they haven’t so far!). I am proud that my boys reach for a piece of fruit at snack time, think that trail mix is awesome, and ask for applesauce or yogurt for “dessert”!

Maggie: Glad I started early with my daughter; she chooses healthy foods herself- when she eats conventional junk food she inevitably is sick from it. Strangers can think what they like my child’s health is more important then the warped idea that childhood=junk foods. There are so many recipes for healthy “junk”- she loves our zucchini carrot cupcakes for parties : ) I don’t really see the convenience when so many additives cause behavior issues or sickness … my friend’s with kids consider her a good influence and we offer recipes (she’s a good influence on me too  I hear that all the time! “Just a taste won’t hurt him,” “You had it when you were a kid,” etc. I applaud those who can afford to feed their kids healthy, organic, home-made food. When relatives want to feed my 1yo ‘garbage food’ I ask them what’s in it, and what are those ingredients made of. Most times that gets my point across. I agree that it is abnormal to be the ‘healthy eater’ these days. I do not think it is appropriate to give kids what they WILL eat instead of what they SHOULD eat, because it is up to us as parents to teach them to eat the right things. Occasional treats are fine (think birthday cake) but nobody else is going to teach them about healthy, nutritious choices.)

Tamara: Absolutely. People think I’m terrible that my kids eat “all that healthy stuff”. They act as if we are poisoning them. I’ve actually been told that if we fed them more junk/ processed foods they would be healthier because it will strengthen their tummy! LOL

Marilyn: Agree! And I find it ironic that the people that don’t want to be judged are the first to judge me and say I am depriving them. Then tell me how when my kids are older they are going to rebel. Really? Rebel? Because I informed them about their bodies and making healthy choices? And we talk about it and cook together?

Michelle: Totally agree and get so frustrated trying to make sure she gets good choices when at daycare. I’ve been told to just give it up… Makes me crazy.

Jessica: I absolutely hate having people tell me too that I am just being mean that their kids ate the junk and they are just fine. Ye many of those grown up kids having depression and mental focus issues they struggle with aches and pains, heart issues etc. that people write off as its just getting old.

Linda: We have run into this and it’s so frustrating! Kids being fed a healthy diet are deprived…deprived of obesity, diabetes and inflammation! Fifty years ago treats were treats…now treats are given at every meal and in between.

Amanda: I get eye rolls about our healthy eating but I don’t care. I do think that if I control all of the food inside our home, then treats outside of the home are o.k. Besides, I love an good walk to the ice cream shop!

Elizabeth: Agree!! And I must ad to this; if someone is eating healthy & feeding their kids healthy food…. DO NOT try to convince them that your garbage food is normal and pressure them “Oh!! Have a cookie, it won’t kill you! C’mon, just eat it it!!” It’s very rude!! We don’t mock you for eating garbage and try to force carrot sticks down your throat. Respect peoples choices!!!

Thyra: I totally agree! When people offer my kids crappy food I think “do you want him to unhealthy?” Not that I never give him treats but it’s disgusting how often I have to say no or intervene.

Cassie: I catch it all the time. My fiancé and I are the butt of family jokes. We’re ‘the weird ones’. We’re treated as conspiracy theorists or freaks for toting our tales of chemicals and poisons and, yes, accused of depriving the children of normal childhood treats. We’re made to feel guilty because of ‘how difficult it is to find things the children are allowed to have’ when holidays come around and our family members want to give the children Easter baskets or stockings. I tell them very simply to put fruit in the baskets. (We travel and have a large family, so I tell them no toys…there’s never enough room in the car to get everything home) Apparently, fruit isn’t enough of a treat. I say organic dark chocolate. -Too bitter for children. Battles aplenty. Inevitably we end up with a bunch of garbage that goes exactly there.

Renee: Oh that makes me so sad if that is true. I don’t feel like I am depriving my children of their childhood in the least. I grew up on crap and i’m still trying to recover my body – I hope my kids don’t have to fight for their health as much as I have had to…

Chelsea:  I hear that all the time! “Just a taste won’t hurt him,” “You had it when you were a kid,” etc. I applaud those who can afford to feed their kids healthy, organic, home-made food. When relatives want to feed my 1yo ‘garbage food’ I ask them what’s in it, and what are those ingredients made of. Most times that gets my point across. I agree that it is abnormal to be the ‘healthy eater’ these days. I do not think it is appropriate to give kids what they WILL eat instead of what they SHOULD eat, because it is up to us as parents to teach them to eat the right things. Occasional treats are fine (think birthday cake) but nobody else is going to teach them about healthy, nutritious choices.

Mandi: Agree. I just had this discussion with my 11 yo. at a grocery store. He was like, “mom we can get so much more food for our money if you would not buy everything organic and grass-fed.” (This was his statement after I said no to Doritos. I told him we eat to live and not live to eat. I also asked him if he knew what that ment. His reply ” we eat foods that will help us take care of our bodies instead of eating junk that will break them down and make us sick.”

About Raising Natural Kids

A mother of two looking to raise awareness about the everyday issues that parents face, focusing on raising children holistically.
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2 Responses to Depriving Kids of Junk Versus Feeding Them It for Convenience

  1. I was planning on writing a blog about this topic! :) I’ve been getting flack because I’m planning on making a healthy smash cake for my daughter’s first birthday. I’ve heard…”a little sugar won’t harm her..” Well, at one year old, I find it harmful. My child, I should be able to choose how to parent her. It gets frustrating.

  2. I completely agree! Everyone thought I was crazy when I made my sons first birthday cake at home from a gluten and sugar free recipe. “He only turns one once!” Yes, but that doesn’t mean He needs food dye and sugar and gluten! He LOVED his cake that was sweetened with fruit juice and we have all the messy first birthday cake pictures to prove it.
    Also, I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. Details are on my page.

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