The above question is something I have really sat and thought about a lot recently. A LOT! How strict should you be with your kids eating healthily?
I used to think I was quite laid back. My gremlin would live on chocolate, crisps, biscuits and cakes if I let her and that’s no exaggeration. I know she is like most kids but when I told some of my friends who work in dietetic trade, they seemed surprised I would let her have Nutella and I’m sure I shocked a few letting my 7 month old have a couple of chocolate buttons. I guess I am at one end of the spectrum with some of my colleagues, as they are probably super healthy. I do feel like my gremlin has too much sugar now and then. It’s just very difficult when she dislikes fruit and it is one of the main snacks I offer to her younger sister and baby brother.
However, after listening to the gremlin coming home from school and telling me what her friends snack on during gymnastics or see what some have as after school snacks, I wonder if I am too strict and need to relax a bit more? I see crisps, I see sweets and I see chocolate; all things I would never bring on the school run or pack as an after school snacks.
The grem has had a couple of play dates too recently and after offering her and her friends some milk and cookies, they were still hungry. I realised I simply didn’t have any other snacks in that they would eat and they ended up having to wait until their tea.
Kids Eating Healthily
As my gremlin isn’t a fruit lover, unlike her sister who I can offer grapes and apple chopped up, my eldest has other options. These are usually things like rice crackers, cereal and milk, fromage frais, yoghurt, scones and toast and peanut butter. I really try to not let her have anything sweet until after a meal. But I know all parents are very different.
She’s asked for different things after school for her classes and even told me someone took lolly pops in for gymnastics. I find this part of parenting tricky; this person’s Mum let me have it, so why can’t I? I usually go with the, “do you see Mummy eating lollies before and after the gym? No, as these are not a healthy fuel to power my body to train. I need protein and better quality energy.” She usually takes this on board and if I explain she can have a treat after her tea, this is fine too. But I wonder how long I will be able to fob her off or will she continue to follow what I say as she gets older?
I find it really hard when has friends around to buy a lot of snacks in, that I wouldn’t usually let her have. Do I relax a little and let her have what she wants? I felt awful when some of her little friends were hungry, as just didn’t want or like what I had!
My family would probably say yes, as it’s just a one off. My dietetic friends would probably say no and some of my friends maybe in the middle. Half of me think she’s may daughter. I’ll do what I want but the other half of me doesn’t want her friends to starve when they come over!
Being a dietitian when eating healthily is very ingrained in me, is very hard when you have a child who would live on chocolate if she could. And I know you don’t have to be a dietitian to have these worries either! Ultimately though we are their parents. They are guided by us. They are too young to make their own choices with food and to try and ingrain healthy habits, we do need to start young and rationalise why we are doing it.
I know I’m going to have to relax a little more when the gremlin is with her friends. I can’t always let her miss out and I certainly can’t starve her mates but for the rest of the time, I know I won’t be able to relax fully.
It’s just impossible for me!!
What about you? Are you relaxed about food with your kids eating healthily?