Re: Limiting junk food for toddler question
I have 3 kids - one is almost 6, one is 4 and the other is 20 months.
I have always done my best to not only restrict crap that they eat, but also to MODEL good eating habits. And a lot of that is dialogue.
I make all their meals, or give them healthy options to choose from. They get occasional treats. And for special occasions, they usually get more than normal.
My older kids will ask for water to drink. If they do ask for juice, I allow them one cup a day. Typically they don't finish it, and ask for water instead. This is b/c I never let them have juice until they were, like 3. They could drink water. Juice was a big treat.
The older ones will ask for healthy snacks - "Can I have an apple?" "Can I have a banana?" "Could I get a string cheese from the fridge?"
If they eat all their dinner, they may have dessert, which is typically one or two cookies, or one small scoop of ice cream, maybe one fun size candy bar. That's pretty much all they get by way of garbage most days. Sometimes, although rarely, they will ask for fruit instead of candy/junk. Which is fine. My son the other day opted for a pickle for dessert. lol.
So, I think my restricting their diets when they were younger helped them to have a better view of food. We don't just eat stuff b/c it tastes good. I mean, yes, we like the way food tastes. But food is ultimately a fuel we use to keep our bodies going, and to keep us healthy. And that is how we talk about food in our house. If I say no to a food, it's either b/c a meal is just about to be served, or I tell them "No, that's not good for us, let's pick a better snack."
A lot of it IS dialogue. We don't eat out often. And when we do treat the kids to Chick-Fil-A, we make sure to say out loud, "Ok, this is a treat! Let's enjoy this!" And then when they ask to go again the very next day, we say something like, "Aw, yea we had fun, didn't we? But we can't eat there often, b/c that's not healthy for our bodies." They get it, too, b/c as we drive around town and they see a fast food place, they'll tell me, "Oh mom, I'd love to eat there! But we just ate fast food, didn't we mom? We can't have that too much. we need to keep our bodies healthy!"
Now, when they go to Gma and Gpa's, it's caution to the wind, and they are drinking root beers, and eating popsicles, and having baggies full of cocoa puffs. But I think they know that is a treat, b/c they see it is not typical for how we eat in our family. I don't even buy those things for our house.
For me, personally, I would not let young kids self-regulate their junk food intake. I just don't think they have the ability to do that without proper training first.
Last edited by Kiliki; 12-13-2012 at 11:24 AM.