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How Strict Should You be with Your Kids Eating Healthily?

kids eating healthily

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.

kids eating healthily

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?

kids eating healthily




  1. November 4, 2019 / 7:25 am

    This is so interesting reading this with your background. I worry about this all the time. I try to get non sugary snacks in but often to stave off a terrible two meltdown I’ll resort to a sweet treat to calm the situation. I feel like I’m building really bad habits. I suppose I’ll have to just accept that my usual go to’s are not as evilly sugary and that I’m doing my best. It doesn’t help I’m a complete sugar fiend. Thanks for the food for though let this morning. No pun intended.

  2. November 4, 2019 / 7:50 am

    This is always something that I always worry about as I really want my daughter to be as healthy as she can. I do try to have a balance and allow sugar, probably more than I should at the moment. But it’s back to normal for us this week so we will limit sugar. With my daughter I also offer her an option. Say for example I’ll offer a chocolate bar and apple and ask her to choose, knowing full well she will choose the chocolate. But then we will talk about the right choice and being healthy inside etc. It’s a learning curve but we are slowly getting there with making those important sugar swaps. Some days are better than others though.

  3. November 4, 2019 / 12:14 pm

    I believe you have to go with what you feel is right for your child. Don’t compare yourself to what other parents do but draw your own lines when it comes to sweets and snacks. I suppose I was at the stricter than most end of the spectrum but where I was was my choice and as my boys grew I talked to them frankly about why we ate the way we did. AS older teenagers they now eat really healthily with some sweets and snacks as treats and when needed after sport.

  4. November 4, 2019 / 1:26 pm

    It’s such a personal thing isn’t it! I’m a little more laid back with crisps – Piglet will have some most days but usually as part of a picky plate for lunch with a sandwich and fruit. I do get a treat in if his cousins are coming to play, but on the condition that they eat a decent amount of their dinner first and it’s always after a meal. Snacks are fruit or pancakes in this house, and lollies are a firm no on every occasion. Sugar on a stick just rotting their teeth!

  5. November 4, 2019 / 2:06 pm

    I always worry I am strict just like you but I think it will help to give them healthy habits for life. Having said that everyone is different and you’ve got to do what’s right for you!

  6. November 4, 2019 / 9:34 pm

    It’s a tough one. I sometimes think I’m too strict too. My two love fruit but they also love chocolate and sweets.

  7. November 5, 2019 / 12:31 pm

    I try really hard to have loads of healthy snacks in the house but of course Erin wants the bad things sometimes. It’s not easy to get a good balance.

  8. November 6, 2019 / 10:48 am

    I never had a little one. But this guide is so helpful and really needed. And it’s such a good read. I will add it to my experience feeding my nieces. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful article!

  9. Melanie williams
    November 6, 2019 / 12:26 pm

    Like everything it is all about balance. That said the amount of sugar in some snacks and food is completely overloaded xx

  10. Karen Usher
    November 8, 2019 / 9:27 pm

    Good read, its so hard, but I figure it like this, when I was younger my Mum would let me have full fat sweets/crisps etc, Im still healthy….touch wood. I let my children have sweets/crisps but I believe everything in moderation. I always aim for the 5 a day but if I fail, then I dont blame myself, its just one of those things.