5 Foods I Never Feed My Children

740SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
165 comments   :  143,091 Views

One of my biggest priorities as a mom is providing my kids with a healthy diet.  Sometimes I'm met with success (they love vegetables), but other times it's a little more difficult ("Eww!  What is this?!?"). I try to expose them to a wide variety of healthy foods, so that eating this way becomes a normal part of the rest of their lives.  My kids are 6, 4 and 1, and even though I control most of what they eat at this age, I still shake my head at some of the food that's served when I'm not around.  My kindergartner can't go to a Girl Scout meeting, sporting event or even morning snack at school without adults serving her junk food.  So when I'm given the opportunity to bring something, I see it as a chance to show kids that healthy food can taste good.
 
Sometimes I get flak from other parents (including my own) because I don't let my kids order whatever they want at a restaurant or limit the foods I bring into our home.  I don't think I'm denying my children the joys of childhood by not serving them many common "kid foods."  If substituting vegetables for French fries or telling them they can't have the corndog on the menu is the worst thing I do as a mom, I think I'm on the right track.   
 
At the same time, I realize that putting some foods off-limits often makes them the "forbidden fruit," and they can become the food my kids want most.  Just like adults, completely denying yourself the foods you enjoy makes you more likely to binge on them later.  I don't want my child to go crazy at a friend's house because their mom serves chocolate milk and I only serve plain.  My kids get treats and snacks they like, but there are certain foods they will just never get from me.  Recently, I read an article about the top foods nutrition experts won't feed their kids, which inspired me to write this blog.  Wondering what foods are on the "off limits" list for this personal trainer's kids?
 
5 Foods I Won't Feed My Kids
  1. Hot dogs.  I'm sure I'll get a little flak for saying this, but I have yet to find any significant nutritional value in a hot dog (or a slice of bologna for that matter).   The average hot dog has 4 grams of saturated fat and 540 milligrams of sodium.  The first two ingredients in a hot dog are mechanically separated turkey and mechanically separated chicken.  I don't know what "mechanically separated" means, but I'm pretty sure there's more processing involved than I'm comfortable serving my kids. In addition to that, processed meats, including hot dogs, contain nitrates, which have been linked to colon cancer.   
     
  2. Prepackaged lunches. A lot of my daughter's friends bring Lunchables to school as a "special treat".  Here's one variety:  Light Bologna with American Cracker Stackers.  Listed on the website as a "good source of protein, calcium and iron," they don't highlight the fact that one package contains 35% of the daily amount of saturated fat and 26% of the daily limit for sodium.  Without too much planning, you can come up with a much healthier lunch for your kids.  In addition, the ingredient list in a Lunchable is too long to count.  My general rule is that if a product has more than 5 ingredients, I put it back on the shelf.  This doesn't happen 100% of the time, but it's my goal as much as possible. 
     
  3. Soda.  Okay, I can’t exactly say “never” to this one, because my oldest two have had Sprite a few times in their lives.  But it really has been just a few times, on special occasions (like New Year’s Eve or birthdays.)  They never ask for soda because they are used to milk or water with all of their meals.  Soda is loaded with sugar, is bad for their teeth, and it has no nutritional value.  If your kids drink a lot of soda and you want to change that, don’t try and do it cold turkey.  Slowly start replacing soda with water.  If they don’t like the taste of plain water, try flavoring it with fruit.  My kids think it’s fun to squeeze an orange slice into their water. 
     
  4. Fast food.  The closest my kids have come to eating fast food is going to Panera on occasion.  I'd almost always rather make my kids a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner versus a McDonald's hamburger (which they have never had).  It's cheaper to cook at home and I know exactly what's going into the food being served.  And while PB&J might not be the perfect meal, it's still a pretty balanced meal that I can throw together in mere minutes—and my kids love it.
     
  5. Sugary cereals.  Growing up, the only cereals we were allowed to have were Cheerios and Rice Krispies.  While my friends dined on Cookie Crunch and fruity puffs with marshmallows, we were stuck with the plain stuff.  Now I'm glad my parents made this choice and I do the same.  Kids are much better off without a sugar-filled start to their day. Instead, our quick breakfasts of choice are peanut butter on toast, Greek yogurt with fruit or Cheerios.

I hope this list doesn't make me seem like a food snob, or imply that I'm better than any other mother who serves these foods to their children.  I strongly believe that every parent should do what they feel is best for their kids and within their abilities, finances and priorities. Serving my children a healthy diet full of wholesome food is important to me, so I put a lot of effort into the meals I serve.  Sometimes I get strange looks from friends and family when they see what I feed (or won't feed) my kids.  I've accepted that I'm different than most moms, and I hope that the older my kids get, the more they will appreciate it too.
 
But it's not about perfection. My kids do get treats.  They love pizza, whether we make it at home or go out to eat.  We enjoy going to the local ice cream stand in the summer, and sometimes we make cookies together at home just for fun.  They eat cake at birthday parties, and enjoy these "fun" foods just as much as any other child.  But in my family, treats are seen as special—not an everyday occurrence.  
 
If you're interested in changing the diet of your family, A Parent's Guide to Nutrition for Kids or SparkPeople’s Healthy Family Makeover Challenge is a good place to start.  Kids can be stubborn, so don't expect all changes to be well-received in the beginning.  But if you stay consistent, changing a few small things at a time so you don't overwhelm them all at once, eventually they will come around and your family will be much healthier because of it.
 
Are there any foods you won't (or didn't) serve to your kids?  Do you think my list of off-limits foods is reasonable or unreasonable?


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Comments

  • 165
    I also used to get the lunchables but stopped because the food just wasn't filling enough for them. - 3/10/2017   3:53:37 AM
  • 164
    You're funny. The more you tell a kid they can't have something the more they want it. Like when they go to a friends or a outing with out me. Get real. - 3/1/2017   1:45:21 PM
  • 163
    This was a great article and although I don't often comment, I had to weigh in on this one. I grew up with meat and potatoes and lots of it along with homemade root beer, plenty of desserts, lots of candy and fast food. I was obese by the time I was in the second grade and Mom was giving me Ayds, the caramel like diet aid one took with a glass of warm water prior to a meal. Ayds never curbed my eating; in fact I used to sneak them as I thought of them as candy. Family outings and any get together with friends always centered around food, never anything like hiking or swimming or just taking a walk. Yes, I did ride my bike and played softball as I got older, but I'm now 72 years old and still struggling with my weight which for short periods of time has been normal, but most of the time has been in the overweight to morbidly obese category. Throughout my life there has always been pressure from myself, my family and friends to "lose the weight." I'm so sick and tired of hearing the phrase "Such a pretty face if only she would lose weight." And yes, with diets starting when I was 8 years old, I am now a binge eater needing to "get while the getting is good" because tomorrow (which by the way never comes) I will start to moderate my food once again.

    Well, fast forward to my step grandchildren whose mother from the time they were able to eat food on their own never offered anything with a lot of sugar, fat or processing. Snacks were always fruit, vegetables and healthy choices. My grandsons grew up with a healthy diet which they preferred when it came to making their own choices. They also learned the value and pleasure of bike riding, hiking, swimming, canoeing and organized sports. Today all three are a normal weight and have nary a thought about diets or "good" or "bad" foods.

    So, even though I have never raised children of my own, I certainly see from my own experience how valuable it is for kids to think that having an apple after school for a snack is just exactly what they wanted.

    Jen, your kids are still young, don't give up and I know you won't in giving them healthy foods. I believe as they get older and can make their own choices that likely they will be like my grandsons and choose what tastes good...that apple rather than fries and a coke from McDonalds!
    - 2/28/2017   7:31:25 PM
  • 162
    I don't have children, but I sure wish my parents would've instilled better eating habits into me and my older brother. I'm sure if they had've, we wouldn't have formed such terrible eating habits and struggled with our weight as adults.

    When we were kids, my mom bought all the Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Cookie Crisp and Cap'n Crunch we wanted while I remember friends of mine whose parents only allowed them to eat healthier stuff like oatmeal, plain corn flakes, or Rice Krispies.

    I used to think, "poor suckers!" ...But now as an adult, I realize that I was the "poor sucker" with parents who simply weren't educated about nutrition.

    If I'm ever blessed with a child, I'll certainly know better. - 2/28/2017   6:50:55 PM
  • 161
    My mom was like yours. We ate what the adults ate. My parents did buy cookies for me and my sisters. But when the package was done, so were we til my mom and dad's next weekly shopping trip. And the whole family ate franks and beans on occasion. But my mom never served dessert, so we never got to expect it. And we drank milk til we were in HS. - 2/28/2017   4:41:17 PM
  • 160
    Great article! I don't think you're a food snob because if I had to do it all over again with my nine year old, I'd do it the same. In the last year, we have started letting her have 1 can of soda throughout the weekend (she usually does half a can on sat and the rest on sun). This is my way of letting her have some without it being all she drinks and also getting rid of the forbidden fruit deal. Throughout the week her drink is usually water. - 2/28/2017   2:29:18 PM
  • 159
    While I think it's great that you're raising your kids to be healthy, please be *very* careful. I know a LOT of people who were completely deprived of junks/sweets/soda in their childhoods, and they've spent their adulthoods being obese and addicted to junk.

    Complete restriction/forbidding will probably make "bad" foods more appealing to them, just like with anything that parents forbid their kids from doing. In that case, parents should never be surprised if their kids are doing stuff behind their backs. - 2/28/2017   2:08:58 PM
  • 158
    This brings back memories. My children are now 35 and 38. They were allowed to choose any cereal, as long as it was a shade of white or beige and wasn't frosted with sugar :) They weren't supposed to have sweets without asking me first, and I was thrilled one day when a neighbor came by to tell me she thought it was great that when she offered my kids (then about 4 and 7) candy, they both said they'd have to ask their mom. She thought it was remarkable that they stuck to the rules even in my absence. When times were rough and we went to the food pantry, colorful cereals provided a rare treat. I don't want to demonize any food, but focus on moderation. - 2/28/2017   10:34:36 AM
  • 157
    As a child of the 70's I have experience with this sort of parenting. My parents fed me health food, denied me soda, limited my television viewing. What they created was a food-obsessed television technician. My relationship with food, my impulse to categorize some foods as "good" and others as "bad," dominates my life. I am eternally struggling with the idea that if I'm not "healthy" (which really means skinny) I have failed morally.

    And it's not just me. The kids in my family, who I grew up with, struggle with the same exact issues.

    So, be very careful about what you teach your children. - 2/28/2017   10:00:04 AM
  • 156
    My child really doesn't eat (or drink) any of these, but then again, she has always been very underweight and doesn't eat. The only one she eats are hot-dogs, but she only likes them at a particular restaurant located 450 miles away from our home. She doesn't eat fruits, meat or veggies on a regular basis. She actually also hates cake, honey and candy.

    I guess this is a good list. I usually look at any childhood articles in hopes of finding something that she would eat and not necessarily what she would not eat, but this is still a good article. - 2/28/2017   9:12:50 AM
  • 155
    Totally agree. My 4 kids had porridge for breakfast many times and still love it.
    They ate a huge variety of REAL foods and now as young adults have good habits. Yes we all have an indulgence once in awhile but parenting by feeding healthy foods and also teaching kids to cook them are treasured life skills! - 2/28/2017   7:55:09 AM
  • 154
    Jen, I totally agree with what you've written.

    My children had never tasted soda until they were 4 and 6. It was a school party and each child was given a Coke as a "special treat." Soda wasn't forbidden at our house, but we didn't buy it and they hadn't had the opportunity. It was funny to see how they grasped the bottles - each took a sip, made a face, and set it aside. One of the teachers said to me "Your children look as though they've never had soda." I said "They haven't. I don't think it's good for people, children or adults." (And I don't.)

    My kids are 34 and 36. Neither one drinks soda - they don't care for it. Soda - and Oreos, and potato chips, and hot dogs, and fast-food - are acquired tastes. Nobody who smokes enjoyed their first cigarette. Nobody who drinks enjoyed their first whiskey. I don't judge what someone else puts in their body, nor do I judge what they give their children.

    But I am convinced there are addictive qualities to processed foods (transfats, high sodium, etc). If the taste is not acquired in childhood, it is less likely to be acquired later, especially if the habit of healthier food is well established. It is much harder to change "junk-food habits" later. I would suspect that kids who are visiting friends and scarfing up the Oreos are living in households where parents are trying to reverse bad habits. Nobody is going to choose a Twinkie over a homemade cookie or cupcake if they've never had either one.

    Once you start down that "moderation" road those addictive substances in fast-foods and processed foods are all too likely to kick in. If the junk-food isn't introduced, there's less chance the habit will develop.

    How many people salt food before they even taste it? There's an acquired habit. For many people it gets to the point where unsalted food "doesn't have any flavor." Yet if you don't start out eating salted food, you won't develop a taste for salt.

    We never had salt shakers on the table, and I seldom use salt in cooking. Thirty years down the road, neither of my children cares for fast-food because it's always too salty, even when they ask for no added salt. Could there be more evidence for acquired tastes?

    Eating unhealthy foods is not inevitable: the parent controls what the child eats for those first few crucial years. Starting the healthy habits early gives your child the best chance at maintaining healthy habits for the rest of his / her life. IMHO. - 2/28/2017   4:00:54 AM
  • 153
    I imagine every parent has foods that are excluded for all kinds of reasons. Foods you'll never find at my house: creative meat foods--like scrapple, head cheese, organ meats, processed cheeses like Velveeta and Cheez Whiz, junk yogurt, junk cereals. Non foods you'll never find at my house: coffee, alcohol, soda, energy drinks. Some are excluded for health reasons, some money and some because they creep me out (scrapple & Cheez Whiz) - 2/28/2017   3:16:29 AM
  • 152
    I am trying to stay away from Soda and I do not let the littles have it either. I do have to say we eat out but slowing down tremendously and as far as hotdogs and sugary cereals they do eat them. I did too as a child. They eat veggies and fruits daily and I do cook sometimes from scratch so I believe the get a good balance. Not the best choice but sometimes it hard with little money to not get hotdogs when a pack of hotdogs can be as low as .29 cent - 9/23/2016   12:21:57 PM
  • 151
    The last time I took my 4 and 6 year Olds to panera, was the last time we'll ever go. Not kid friendly at all

    My kids aren't fat from their nuggets or burger they get seldomly. - 6/27/2016   7:31:36 PM
  • CHERIAKATHATMOM
    150
    I always think it is funny when moms/dads have these hard and fast rules. News flash, they live in a big world. The kids with the diet-strict parents would go to a friend's house and clean them out of oreos and chips without fail. Information and choices not abstinence leads to smart, healthy adults without food issues... I am proud to say that I have three of them :). Just like anything else: education (food, sex, rules, expectations, different religions, politics, etc.) leads to thoughtful, understanding, self-aware adults. Pass it on! Namaste' - 6/21/2016   2:38:59 PM
  • 149
    Well, my kids eats pretty healthy stuff and I cook dinner from scratch (they love fresh veggies, salads, fruits, quinoa, legumes, and one likes meat). I even bake my own chicken nuggets with organic chicken and nut meal. But I work full time and sometimes do resort to Lunchables, and I'm not going to feel guilty about it. Most of the time, they get bento boxes filled with a variety of healthy options, but if I have a ridiculous day or series of days, they're getting a Lunchable. Also, I allow the VERY occasional soda and sugar cereal for special occasions, as well as fast food but ONLY when we're traveling and I can't find a better options (I always pack lunch for the first day of a multi-day car trip). They are eating very mostly healthy stuff, and that which isn't perfect is, on the balance, the 20 percent of their 80/20 diet. - 5/10/2016   1:57:05 PM
  • 148
    While I applaud your efforts, the foods and drinks you listed will NOT hurt them. Stop being a snob and let them have these things once in a while. It won't kill them, nor you. - 5/7/2016   10:59:16 PM
  • 147
    You're not a food snob. You are taking care of your children, and teaching them good things. Treats are treats, not daily fare. I say, good for you! - 2/5/2016   4:55:48 AM
  • 146
    My two grown sons - ages 29 and 33 - don't eat much sugar and never have sweetened soda because I took this approach. The one thing I'd say is different, I let them have an occasional hot dog and a monitored fast food meal because I didn't want them to grow up with a thought of "bad" and "good" foods - and emphasized more the value of food - from "healthy" and worth the money, vs. "not healthy" and a treat to have for special occasions. They grow with taste buds wanting healthy foods. - 12/24/2015   6:11:35 AM
  • 145
    I grew up allergic to food coloring.
    Think of it, a childhood without jello, koolaid, most cereal, most candy, most soda, gum, etc. It was only bad when i was sick, which was often, because -- with rare exception -- medicine (liquid kind) can not be flavored without being colored. You think that cherry concoction is bad? Try is straight sometime. Ugh.
    So, I learned to love apple juice and white grape juice instead of soda, my biggest decision in breakfast is cheerios vs cornflakes, and I eventually just gave up meat entirely. There are vegetarian hotdogs -- they're worth looking into. Seriously, I've never met the person that could tell the difference. (Ditto for sandwich meat.) We never had to worry about fast food because the closest one was one hour away, one way -- so it was only "a couple times a year" kinda thing. And I'm not opposed to a veggie burger on the road.
    I think helping children develop good habits, rather than forcing decisions onto them, should be the priority. - 11/26/2015   9:05:08 PM
  • 144
    Kudos to you!!!! I wish my way of thinking about food when my girls were growing up had been far different than it was. - 11/26/2015   8:06:41 PM
  • LCERTUCHE
    143
    My mother used to try to convince me something was wrong with my kids because they wouldn't drink Kool-Aid, lol. - 11/26/2015   6:14:52 PM
  • SPUNOUTMOM
    142
    I did the same thing. My children are grown up & didn't know they were deprived. It was normal to eat healthy food. They also thought fast food was salad bar @ a sit down restaurant. They are grown up, eat healthy and thank me for not having unhealthy foods in the home. - 11/26/2015   5:30:29 PM
  • 141
    I don't have kids and don't want kids either, but I do agree with some of the comments in the wording of the article. Growing up, we ate fast food a few times a month and ate out on Sunday's after church. I was never told that it was forbidden to eat a hotdog or drink cokes (in the south that refers to any soda). I guess the cokes were present the most frequently, but we also had fruits available for snacks (as well as other "unhealthy foods"). When I went off to college, I lost a lot of weight because I'm somewhat picky about what I eat and if it looks or smells different than what I am used to, I wouldn't eat it. After graduating, I gained a lot of the weight back for various reasons...aging (only 34), was sedentary, and didn't eat right. Finally, I got tired of all the weight and made changes...gave up soda's although I will drink one when I go out to eat (or if I'm craving it...get one 20 ounce bottle), eat out once a month or less, keep fruits around intsead of cookies and other sugary snacks, eat oatmeal for breakfast (or honey nut cheerios or rice crispies, but don't do it often because I eat too much of it), etc. - 11/26/2015   4:16:04 PM
  • L_DROUIN
    140
    When I was growing up, I remember a boy whose mother would not allow him to chew gum. He would peel the gum stuck to the bottom of the bus seats and chew it. It would make me sick when he did this. Your plan of letting your children have "treats" on special occasions seems reasonable.I agree that hot dogs and other processed meats can be very bad for you. Teaching your children at such a young age how to eat right is wise. It takes time, thought, and a little work too which some parents just don't seem to bother with.You set an example too which means that they aren't watching you eat things that you don't let them eat. - 11/26/2015   2:00:14 PM
  • 139
    I am not keen on the "never" idea. The key for me is moderation. I don't think it wise to demonize or sanctify any particular food.

    Actually, "never" and "always" are generally not good words to use in most situations. I strive for excellence, not perfection, and I certainly wouldn't expect other people to do anything perfectly. - 11/26/2015   10:05:20 AM
  • 138
    I also had a list when my daughter was little - one additional item was white bread. I baked a lot of whole grain loafs or at least bought rye/whole wheat. - 11/26/2015   9:09:37 AM
  • 137
    I agree with KITTYKAT. My college boyfriend was never allowed to eat cereal with marshmallows in it (like Lucky Charms). When he hit college, he went nuts on the sugary / marshmallow cereals & definitely gorged on more "junk" food than he was allowed growing up. He also gained 20lbs and it tore up his stomach.

    The more you deprive kids & do the "always / never" thing - the more likely they are to go nuts with it once they're "free" to make their own choices as adults. This is just my experience...he was only one of the several examples I saw my freshman year of college. I think the intentions are wonderful, but I've definitely seen it backfire. - 11/16/2015   12:36:27 PM
  • JANETEMILY
    136
    My kids are all adults now, and when they were young, we ate home-cooked meals at least six nights a week. We rarely had hot dogs, because they never asked for them, and I always thought Lunchables were a waste of money. They didn't have soda, or fast food very often, but I never forbid them to have it! Just a word of caution, though, when they get to be teenagers, and are out with their friends, all of your careful planning can go completely out the window! Just because they don't report back to you at the time, it does not mean they're not eating "junk food" with their friends! - 10/31/2015   8:00:28 PM
  • 135
    I totally agree with this list. My 2 year old daughter always has either peanut butter wheat toast or greek yogurt for breakfast. Lunch varies but she really likes Wholly Guacamole with berries, yogurt, chicken, and sometimes I let her have Annie's Mac and Cheese. She prefers water to pretty much anything to drink. She's never had a hot dog and she says they look disgusting. :)
    - 10/31/2015   4:29:39 PM
  • ATEAMSIS06
    134
    I complete agree with this article. Although my son is 16, I believe that over the years I have attempted to instill healthy eating habits in my household. - 9/2/2015   11:11:30 AM
  • BMEARNIC
    133
    I think it's a great article. However, I strongly disagree with the whole 'mechanically processed' hot dogs bit. That has been a myth for the longest time (research that and you'd be surprised). Prepackaged lunches such as Lunchables are healthier than you think (again research). As for soda, my kids are not allowed it because of the atrocious amount of sugar and caffeine in them. I DO, however, allow them SIPS of diet soda (way more healthier than regular soda). Don't get me started on fast food. I personally can't stand it. Sugary cereals do not have as much sugar in them as it seems. There are more minerals and vitamins in Froot Loops than there are in Cheerios ( again research). - 7/30/2015   1:05:23 PM
  • 132
    I was a like that with my two boys growing up and now they gorge themselves on soda and fast food! I'm not sure denying them all the time will necessarily have the results you hope! - 6/4/2015   10:37:18 AM
  • 131
    One of the things I read over and over different articles about different studies, but hot dogs also seem to be "implicated" in many cases of childhood leukemia. They can't do an actual study to prove causation, of course, but never the less, seems more than coincidence that when the doctors or nurses find out what the child's frequent meals consisted of, hot dogs run up high in the diets of many of the kids with leukemia. So with my kid, I really didn't deny him hot dogs (other than to the extent that we don't eat pork anyway so I always bought beef or turkey hotdogs or a few times, I was lucky enough to find an uncured bison "hot dog"/sausage type meat.)...but...pretty much on his own, he got to where he really didn't want it. The packages would sit in my refrigerator for months and months, perfectly "preserved" to "always be pink" until I would realize that a) he won't eat them b) they are already past expiration date so c) throw them out!! So I guess it's still me that occasionally "craves" them because when I was a kid myself (long before I learned about the coorelation between hotdogs and leukemia), hot dogs were one of those "forbidden" type foods I always craved, and I will occasionally enjoy a beef hotdog. I've learned to be sure and eat GOBS of high anti-oxidant foods (onions, peppers, tomatoes, all the veggies that go on Chicago or New York Style hot dogs, for instance!) to help combat the negative effects of the various processing chemicals in hot dogs, or even better yet, to enjoy the uncured more "natural" forms of hotdogs found in health food stores with a short expiration life to encourage me to use them up soon!! - 6/2/2015   7:01:39 PM
  • 130
    Besides having no real nutritional value, hot dogs are also a high choking hazard for young children, so they really have no place around them. As far as everything else on your list, it is a marketing tool, labeling them a "part of childhood". I am 45, and only hot dogs were a big part of my growing up ( they were cheap, fast, and paired with beans or chili and rice). The rest were special treats, even "Rot your teeth stuff" (what my Grams called sugared cereals) was only purchased occasionally and only on sale. - 4/3/2015   10:10:12 PM
  • 129
    You Rock! I applaud you for your courage in doing what is best for your kids. Everyone has lines they don't or won't cross. I cried like a baby for HOURS when some well-meaning neighbor gave my 4-year-old bacon. Things will happen and your children will be faced with unhealthy choices, and they will sometimes MAKE those unhealthy choices. But this foundation you have built for them is strong and a great touchstone for them as they find their ways through life! - 2/15/2015   9:57:31 AM
  • 128
    I thought that this was an interesting article. It has made me reevaluate some things that I give my children. For example, instead of buying lunchables, we will make our own. We already buy nitrate free lunch meat, so making our own is the next logical step. They do get sugary cereal on occasion and probably always will. I think that it is great to eat healthy and to teach children to eat the same way. However, I don't want to give them the idea that food is bad and/or forbidden. If they think this way, they will binge on the food when allowed to have it at someone else's house. By allowing them to eat it at home, I can "control" how much and what kind they eat. We are trying to teach moderation is key. They make their own decision in the morning on what to eat. There are healthier options like egg white omelets and oatmeal. Most of the time, they do pick the healthier option. By teaching them the healthier foods to eat and letting them make food decisions for themselves, I think that this is setting them up for success in the future when they are on their own. - 1/3/2015   5:52:54 PM
  • 127
    Good for you! I agree. We only had cereals like Chex and Cheerios growing up as well. There is one I don't allow aside from your list and that is artificial sweeteners, I was floored to see the article here on spark people about how they are completely safe. Although I see it was written by the beverage association so I am sure they want to push sales. I don't believe they are safe at all. - 1/3/2015   3:05:52 PM
  • 126
    I agree with everything on the list. It's really a moot point at our house because we don't keep this stuff around. Maybe he eats a hot dog twice a year at a BBQ. I don't make any of this forbidden fruit, we just don't eat that stuff. I think the hardest thing for us was that my husband used to eat sugary cereal himself. When we were first married I thought it was gross, but figured it's his choice. After my son was born we had to have a serious talk about it because I was adamant about my son not eating that stuff. - 10/19/2014   3:56:55 PM
  • PEACHYKEEN1985
    125
    I totally agree with the majoirty of this list. My daughter is just a little over a year old and I'm very aware of what she eats. As a result it has made ME more aware of what I eat as well. - 9/16/2014   2:29:39 PM
  • 124
    "Mechanically separated" probably just means ground up, but still, it is a rather off-putting phrase, isn't it? It reminds me of all the jokes about what discarded parts of the animal really go into hot dogs and then I'm left with a rampaging case of the heebee-jeebies. *lol* I'm always asking how does the machine know what parts to throw in and what parts to toss, and then it's all over and I find I wasn't as hungry as I first thought. :D - 9/6/2014   11:24:33 AM
  • LISAREESA
    123
    I don't go with the "forbidden fruit" belief either. I never gave my child sodas or caffeine. He's 17 now and he drinks water. Once he was old enough, I explained WHY we don't drink sodas and caffeine. He had a Mt Dew in middle school and felt so bad after he confessed and never drank another!! He has friends who drink Monsters and Red Bulls multiple times daily and he feels bad for them because they're hooked!!!
    As the parent you make the good choices. Explain why when they're ready to understand. Life long habits are formed before you know it!! - 8/19/2014   9:10:31 PM
  • 122
    I police the food that I feed my children in my house and that goes into their lunchboxes, but I allow them to control the foods they eat away from home. While I don't serve hot dogs at home, if they want a hot dog at a baseball game, I allow it. My kids are 14 and 9 and involved in multiple activities. I work a demanding job. I'd like to say they have a healthful home cooked meal that we eat together at the table every night, but the reality is that on occasion, they will be fed through the drive thru on the way to church from swimming. I feel that by giving them the option to choose the corn dog when they were used to less processed foods at home, I was equipping them to make better decisions when I wasn't around to police their plates. (Oh you ate the corn dog and now you have a tummy ache? Why do you think that is?) - 8/12/2014   9:56:46 AM
  • 121
    I agree with the writer. I only eat Hebrew National 98% fat free hot dogs. to add flavor to cereal since i stopped buying the sugary ones I add fresh fruits, roasted oatmeal and dry roasted chopped nuts. I stopped buying lunchables for myself for the reasons stated. - 8/12/2014   8:36:54 AM
  • 120
    I get what you are saying but would say it differently. For instance I would say, I love to prepare a healthy breakfast for my kids that will give them the energy they need for the morning. And when our kids beg for school lunch (because that is what happens when you pack their lunch every day) I tell them I couldn't let them eat that stuff because I want them to get a satisfying meal that will power them through the afternoon. I let them pack their own lunch and decide what goes in it - but of course what goes in is the stuff I provide in our pantry. They make good choices. They take water bottles wherever we go because we know that staying well-hydrated gives you more energy. Our family attitude toward unhealthy things isn't one of "we don't eat these delicious treats because we're healthy". It's like, "I'm glad we're able to eat nutritious things". The household I grew up in was very unhealthy, and my dad has commented multiple times when I send the kids to stay with them how surprised he is that our kids wouldn't drink juice at every meal even if it is offered. They ask for water and fruit and vegetables if it isn't served with a meal. Their food habits are theirs - not mine. - 8/8/2014   9:02:59 AM
  • 119
    I agree with some of the foods on the list. I have a 5 year old boy who eats just about anything. While we do eat fast food, I try to limit it with trail mix and granola bars (99% of the time its because we're out and about and ran out of food) but sometimes it just happens. I totally agree with soda though. I don't drink it and my son doesn't either. He has tried it and told me that it is too "spicy". I also agree with the lunchables. They take maybe 10 minutes to make at home with WW crackers, low fat cheese, and roasted chicken breast. Serve with some fruit and a bottle of water and you're golden. We like to do hummus with pita slices and grapes as well. And honestly? When it comes down to the wire, it doesn't matter what any one else thinks about what you feed or don't feed your child/ren. It's what you feel is right for them. If it mean restricting overly processed foods? So be it. You don't have to answer to anyone but your God and your conscience. - 5/25/2014   1:53:31 AM
  • 118
    As soon as their out of your sight, they're going to eat this stuff to excess. If they express an interest in it, let them have it in moderation.

    Making foods forbidden makes them attractive to children; it think it's unwise to make it an easy option for their adolescent rebellion. - 5/24/2014   8:29:32 PM
  • 117
    I think your ideas are right on the money...I was 10 before I ever tasted Spaghettios....and I found them disgusting...I spit it out. We never had pudding either....we were always served yogurt with fruit in it. We only went to Taco Bell with our church bulletin so we could get our free taco. My mother is German and believe me....that woman can bake!! But most of what she baked us was sweeten with fruit over sugar overload. To this day (53 years later) I still don't eat a high amount of sugar or fast food. She did teach us one (at least) great lesson...how to cook! But I am over weight cause I eat too much period and don't get enough exercise. But I'm on track today. - 5/24/2014   6:53:12 AM
  • 116
    I believe in moderation. I dont believe in not giving my son certain foods. Actually, I still like all of the foods/drinks in the post and still eat them and I have lost 43 pounds. Everything in moderation. - 5/24/2014   1:35:33 AM

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