Well I don’t hate kids. Forget about mine I can’t hate any kid. I am too motherly for that. I am not a junk food hater either, in fact I have during several phases of my life hogged on to junk food.
But one demand for such food from my daughter is enough for me to show her a stern look of “NO”. Many a times I have said this and I will again say this please No No No No junk food for kids. Not before they join play school at least because after that there is only little you would be able to do about it (many play schools have ice cream day, burger day, Mc. Donald’s day).
All these are marketing gimmicks I tell you.
I won’t say my daughter doesn’t eat junk food, she does but I can vouch for a fact that till she joined her play school that poor soul didn’t even know what an ice cream is. Relatives, guests used to get chocolate for her and she used to hand it over to me leaving everyone in surprise that kids who don’t eat chocolate do exist. We travelled a lot with her and so we used to grab French Fries for her and that is what she used to ask for because we fed her that.
Now see that is the connect. Many a times when I say somewhere even in our tiny bit we as parents are responsible of our kids having unhealthy food habits I believe we only must have introduced them to it. I don’t take anyone else’s example but mine. She didn’t eat any junk which we haven’t eaten in front of her either or offered her ourselves. So we can’t shrug off our responsibility by saying what can we do she likes it.
When my daughter joined play school she got it know about Noodles, chocolates, Mango drinks (tetra packs), ice creams, cold drinks and used to ask for them. Initially I refused giving her any and then one day her class teacher told me she asks her classmates for junk food everyday. I realised it’s the excitement in her which is not getting answered by us and thus she is trying other ways. So me and my husband came up with an idea. We told her a deal, everytime she will have vacations we will take her to super market and she can choose all the junk she wants and eat it during vacations, another time she can have cold drink and ice creams is when we are in a party. She whole heartedly agreed and kept on waiting for her vacations.
In her first tryst she bought a lot of cookies, cold drink, chips, ice creams. She was over the moon, her vacations went partying with this stuff now she felt indebted towards us and in lieu we asked her to have proper balanced meals, milk and only one junk in a day (I sound like a monstrous mom here? I know I am one). Then came the next vacation (in between she had occassional junk in bday parties and all), this time she bought less stuff, started eating excitingly but disposed off few of it by the end of the vacation, she was bored eating them and then this pattern continued. This time during vacation she just bought one can of a cold drink and one chocolate and when I asked her to buy more she said “no Mumma I don’t want this.”
Meanwhile, I kept on feeding her healthy food of different variety and attractive appearance.
So, I would again and again stress over one point that your child should always know that you DO NOT LIKE his/her eating junk food and by letting them eat it you are doing a favour. It will always kept them restricted and then they would ask for it on special occassions only.
Many mommies have told me “our child is not that easy nut to crack like your daughter”, “it is easy to say”, “you don’t know na”. Darlings, I know but you don’t know by keeping this frame of mind you have already given them one free hand and they are clever enough to snatch another.
Remember, junk food is very very harmful for your kids. Like you save them from mosquitoes, pollution, water borne diseases save them from this too. Figure out what works best for your kid but figure it out. You cannot completely stop it but you CAN curb it, so do that.
Least we can do for our future generations is, provide them a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Quickly, I would summarise few points :
1. NEVER ever introduce any junk to your kid, it would automatically happen at school or parties;
2. NEVER ever eat something in front of your child which you do not want him/her to relish in future;
3. NEVER ever show to your child that it’s ok if he/she eats some junk;
4. ALWAYS keep on feeding them healthy meal;
5. If they don’t like healthy home-cooked food make it attractive and tasty or use your mommy power NEVER ever substitute it with a junkier and tastier option;
6. Tell their teacher to instruct them to eat healthy food. Trust me instructions from teachers work more wonder than thousand pleading from mommies.