How much "junk" do you let your toddler eat? My husband isn't a particularly healthy eater, and I'm afraid my son is going to follow in his footsteps. He was already a picky, anti-veggie eater, and now he's been introduced to tortilla chips, Frosted Flakes and McDonald's fries. Of course he loves it all, and so the weekends (when my husband is home) is pretty much a nutritional wasteland at our house. I feel horribly guilty! Anyone else fighting the war against junk food?
We don't usually go to junk food restaurants, except when we are travelling long distances and eating on the go. But, when we are at home, we do sometimes go to restaurants near us and all my son wants to eat is french fries. I think it's fine if it's once a week or something but we as well "slack off" the rules during the weekend. We snack on potato chips instead of yogurt or fruit, but I at least try to keep the meals balanced, with some meat, veggies and a starch, whether it's potato, rice, or pasta. I think that a little junk food isn't a bad thing, as long as it's not every meal, every day. It's like everything else, everything in moderation!
Hardly any at all if I can help it. I just don't buy it, and hubby will only eat what I buy. DD has become a bit of a popsicle freak though this summer. She will cry and beg all day for popsicles. Those mini slow melt ones are awesome for toddlers.
It's the same with my husband! I do my best to give the kids good food, but whenever my husband watches the kids, he takes them to McDonald's. I work outside the home on Saturdays, so I can usually assume that the kids have popcorn for breakfast, McDonald's for lunch, and bribery candy throughout the day... At least it's only once a week, right?
thankfully this isn't a huge issue for us. the "junk" our son gets consists of pretzels and cheddar and/or chocolate bunny crackers as a snack once a day. if he does well with dinner he does have the opportunity to pick a treat in the evening (if he asks; we don't offer it up). that usually consists of ice cream, a popsicle or some kind of candy (like a dum dum or a square of dark chocolate).
really, we don't keep much junk around the house because my husband and i don't want it around. that helps a lot. that said, i don't try to keep the stuff completely away from him (like, when we went out to eat last weekend he asked for a fry and i let him have a few because he'd done well with his steak and broccoli) because if he's anything like me, the more i tell him he can't have something the more he'll want it. that was my big issue growing up. my mom has always dealt with weight issues so i grew up with a lot of "are you sure you should be eating that..." and comments like that. not with malicious intent, but more from a "don't do as i did" POV. well that just made me want to eat twice as much of whatever it was just to spite her. healthy, right? ha! i don't want to do that to our son so i'm trying my best to take an "all things in moderation" approach. that said - if, like in my example of our dinner out, he hadn't been eating his steak or his broccoli i wouldn't have just let him eat the fries for dinner. things like that are looked at more like treats and not a given - if that makes sense. we started early with him and, thankfully, he's the kind of kid that would choose apples over fries off of a fast food menu (wendy's is really the only fast food he gets besides places like chipotle and panera). he also doesn't care for most of the options on kids' menus. grilled cheese is about it, but he could really take or leave pizza, chicken fingers and mac and cheese. we went to longhorn the other weekend and he told the waitress he wanted a pork chop and broccoli with tomatoes on the side. ha!
I occassionally give my son junk food but in moderation. He eats healthy the rest of the time. I dont think junk food is bad if you have it in moderation only if you eat it all day everyday. I go to a parents group on thursdays well my son is in his group. We were talking about moderation of stuff and the woman who runs the program told us how she knows a parents who banned her daughter from junk food when she was younger and she is 16 now and all she does is go to drive thrus for food. I think by banning junk food it just tempts kids to want it more.
It's nearly impossible to keep junk food away from my kids, their Father is a junk food addict (he wakes up w/ a chocolate addiction, or a longing for cookies) every single night. I remember when my daughter was just a toddler, she had no idea what candy even was... b/c I never gave any to her. Once her Father gave her bites of his, it was all over from there! Of course, they are all skinny as rails (even their Dad)... so I don't feel I need to do any sort of huge intervention yet. I try my best to put my foot down about candy, but when it comes to cookies, pudding, and stuff like that it's nearly impossible to eliminate it. After dinner my kids are yelling "cookie, cookie!!"... but I only allow it once a day... and I try to aim towards the no-so-bad cookies like the fig newtons, wafers, animal cookies. My kids love to snack on chips too, or cheetos... but I try to get something like mini rice cakes or veggie straws instead. I do make meals balanced w/ a meat, veggie, carb... I guess it's really just the snacking that is tough.
McDonalds is an occasional thing (if at all)... I don't really care for it at all, I prefer something like Chick fil a if I'm gonna have to run through a drive thru.
I want my children to feel free to try dif. varieties of food (in moderation) only b/c I don't want them to have this life long dream of "can't wait to grow up so I can eat whatever I want!"... I have family members who are growing up (now) and they can't wait until they turn 18 so they can have their first big mac and eat junk food all day long. I think you can still teach your children good eating habits while still allowing them to try foods they may have interest in (even if they aren't so healthy).
I grew up only eating wheat, fruits, veggies, etc (b/c my mom only allowed that)... and when I was old enough, I went on this eating spree of eating nothing but junk- twizzlers, dairy queen, starburst, fast food, greasy everything... it only lasted about 1 1/2-2 years, thankfully I didn't gain weight... but I went right back to pretty descent eating habits- I don't really care for sweets at all, I only eat wheat bread, love salads, love all sorts of veggies, etc.
I found keeping junk food away from my kids A LOT easier before my older daughter started grade school. It is amazing how much junk they encounter in school! I pack her lunches, so her lunches are healthy, but there seems to be a bake sale every other day and then the snacks at the school dances, cupcakes for a classmates birthday party, a lollipop for behaving well all week in aftercare, then the kid last year who was always happy to trade his Cheetos for my daughter's hummus when the teacher wasn't looking (Go figure!). On top of it, a lot of the kids play places sell really junky food. Whenever they allow us to carry in food, we do, but some places have strict policies against carrying in food. I personally think that if you are going to restrict outside food, you should at least offer some alternatives to pizza and chicken nuggets, but, hey, I'm not going to take a stand at the expense of my child and social interaction is important, so we have the occasional junk on playdates. Oh, and on Sundays my grandmother (my girls' great-grandmother is always slipping them lollipops to help them get through the sermon. All little, occasional things, but it seems like every day there is an occasion somewhere. I think we've finally got this down now. I keep lunches and dinners healthy at home. Breakfast is generally a non-issue because we only have time for cereal or toast and I don't buy the sugary cereal. My daughter is starting second grade, so she is old enough to do a little self-monitoring. She knows that she is allowed one junky treat a day, so if she buys a cupcake at the bake sale, she tells me and that night dessert is unsweetened applesauce.
I have the same problem with my husband, and the best way I've learned to deal is this: spice up the healthy stuff as much as possible!!! I spread hummus on veggie patties, peanut butter or yogurt on multi-grain bread, 100% tomato paste on grilled chicken pieces...he would give them Meat Lover's pizza all day every day if he could, but luckily I prevent that from happening. That's not saying that I don't give them pizza, however; I just opt for a thin crust with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell pepper wih light cheese instead. It's all about options! A toddler isn't able to differentiate between "junk" food and any other food, they rely on their parent' reaction for that. If you portray wheat toast with peanut butter and bananas as a "treat" to your children, they will most likely follow suit and enjoy it considerably more than if you didn't make it seem like something special!