Childrearing

Teaching Your Kids To Be Healthy Includes Giving Them Sweets

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girl looking at cakeWe all want our kids to live long, healthy lives. And there are lots of all natural and organic food out there to help us do just that. But teaching our kids when it’s okay to have junk food is part of our bringing enjoyment to that long life we want for them. While part of our job as parents is to be concerned for our children’s health, we also have the equally important task of teaching them how to navigate the real world. And the real world has soda. Also cake.

Obviously, if your child has an allergy or medical condition that makes certain foods unsafe, there’s no question that they need to be taught to look for and avoid them. But for children without a compelling medical reason, there’s nothing wrong with having soda, chips or other junk food on occasion. I came across a post on Babble.com written by a mom who refuses to let her children drink soda ever because she believes it lacks nutritional value and may contribute to early puberty. Joanna Mazewski writes:

 We live in an age where we should know better than to feed our kids a meal stripped of any valuable supplements as opposed to a diet of wholesome foods and plant-based fruits and vegetables.

While I agree that feeding children a largely healthy diet is important, I don’t believe that never giving them treats is a parent ‘knowing better’. Teaching our kids that entire categories of food are off the table completely isn’t being a good parent. It’s actually lazy. It’s much easier to issue a blanket “No” in regard to all junk foods rather than take the time to teach children how to enjoy less healthy foods in moderation. Anyone can police a child’s diet to make sure they don’t have any sugar, but it takes patience and perseverance to teach your child how to read a nutritional label, how to recognize what a serving size looks like, or even how to know when they feel too full or the difference between hunger and boredom.

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