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July 01, 2009


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I would love to buy all organic food, but we can't afford it in our part of the country (and on our crappy salaries), so I choose a few items which are always organic---my daughter's milk, for example. She will only eat canned carrots. We tried organic carrots cut up, she wouldn't eat them. So, canned it is and I'm thankful she eats carrots!
She was given milk and water, and the rare juice her first couple of years, but now I do offer her other things once in a while(lemonade, orange soda) and she'll drink them occasionally, but still prefers water! Her birthday cake was a castle made of pure sugary awesomeness...it's great to be a kid!

I agree! We absolutely need to watch out for our kids, but not to the point that all of the fun is sucked out of being a kid. Balance is definitely the key!

It seems to me that parents today have made it a career to monitor/control every aspect of their children's lives. When I grew up our parents spent their time 'keeping house' and socializing with the neighbors. Us kids sort of ran wild and loved it. No one really knew what we were up to most of the time. We had a time we had to be home by. If we tried to hang around the house our mothers found jobs for us to do like dusting, running the vaccuum or scrubbing woodwork. Needless to say we didn't hand around much. We ate what was in the house and served to us. There weren't a lot of store bought sweets because no one had the money to buy them, but there were lots of cookies, cakes, pies, etc. that mom made herself. Parents didn't worry so much about whether they were 'doing the right thing'. We seemed to have turned out ok. Wish you were there.

I am not obsessed, either. But then again, I may have crossed into SlackerMom territory.

Yea, what she said.

Like a previous commenter I don't keep too many sugary food in the house so when we do go get ice cream it's a treat not a meal. I spend my time trying to make sure his ragular meals are healthy and balanced so he can enjoy treats without me worrying, cause I know he eats well the rest of the time.

Also as a former preschool teacher I can say from experience the sugar effect isn't usually the sugar, it's the special occasion the sugar accompanies ( birthday parties, halloween...).

I recently had a conversation with another mom and during the 3 minutes we spoke, she told me all about her son's gluten-free diet and referred to her daughter as a "sensory soother."

I don't make understand your words of talk..
food am good??

All things in moderation =)

(I sound like my father. He says that all the time). I'm glad that you wrote this post. Sometimes I want to wallop people over the heads because IT IS JUST A FREAKING CHEETO, you know? I mean, okay, I get it, you don't want your kid eating junk food, but really? Is a piece of birthday cake going to kill them? Probably not.

I'm soooo glad you wrote this post. I have a friend who just recently started this whole ALL natural, ALL organic kick and its getting to be quite ridiculous! I buy organic fruits and vegetables when I can, but I also buy canned and frozen. I would love it if my kids would eat good stuff all the time, but I'm a realist and my kids are stubborn about such things.

My parents limited sugar and other junk food growing up while my husband's parents did not. Today, I do see that we have very different eating habits. I snack on fruit while he inhales a package of Oreos. I think it is all about finding a happy medium, but what exactly is that???

I am single, well educated parent (with no co-parent). The main conclusion I've come to ia that I've done my worst parenting when I've been trying to be the "perfect parent" rather than trusting my instincts.

You are so right. My parents wouldn't let me eat any sugar. I remember a carob cake for one of my birthdays. I'm a sugar addict today.

Great post! Moderation is key. I don't subscribe to diets. I'd rather not be a part of anything with the word "die" in it. I let my kids enjoy "junk" and I'm grateful that they request salad, broccoli and they love water.

I think when you give kids a bit of everything the "bad" stuff is not so appealing.

I grew up with a mother who seriously convinced me that a saltine was a cookie until I was old enough to figure it out. No sugary cereals, no junk food, I was sent to school with carrot sticks in my packed lunches. My dad was less stringent but let my mom run the show where food was concerned.

To escape my mother's tyranny my brother and I would save our allowance and then walk to the library. Well, actually the drug store next to the library where we would buy bags full of candy and binge. Healthy in so many ways!

I like lopsidedmom's 80/20 plan - it pretty much describes what we do here.

We call it the 80/20 way around here...80% of the time we eat well, get our veggies from a CSA blah, blah, blah, and the rest of the time we eat whatever the hell we want. Call me delusional (entirely possible) but my kiddos are the least picky eaters I know.

I do get a little secret thrill being around sanctimonious anti-sugar parents. I'll never forget being a a 2 year-old's birthday and listening to the mother bragging about how her son never ate sugar, then turning to see that same child with his face and fingers pretty much IN the cake, like some addict after the next fix.

Agreed. My Mom was Sgt. Food Police. After about the age of 3, hot dogs were rarely seen around these parts. Regular cheese disappeared. Regular pop disappeared. Cookies? Ice cream?Creamy milk? Buh Bye. I snuck all kinds of stuff when I was at friends' houses.

Hubs, on the other hand, was raised on the cheapest bologna & cheese with white glue bread (aka - Wonder), all the Kool-aid his little system could manage, and no one ever read to him, either.

We're both fine.

And seeing as I indulged in my first-ever frozen custard last week (O.M.G. Why is this not to be found in the West?) I think I'm going to continue to be ok and balance it all not only for myself, but for my kids, too.

everything in moderation. including moderation :-) great post!

Yes, I'm pretty anti-HFCS myself. We all draw our lines I think. Moderation is certainly subjective.

But when you can't go anywhere or do anything because you have to pack food or you can't eat anything where you're going, it doesn't sound healthy (pun intended) to me.

Right on! I grew up in a house where the motto was "moderation is key". I do that now. We are fairly healthy but we do indulge.

I did however get my undies in a bunch when I realized the dried blueberries I bought had added high fructose corn syrup in them. Grr!

I think moderation is hard to master, both as parents and also just four ourselves - because it's that perfect mix of what you know is best for practical reasons and what you know is good for emotional ones. I believe in healthy eating, and as a hypoglycemic with diabetes running in my family, I tend to prefer natural sugars like those in fruit, honey, stevia and agave to the processed kind. So I don't generally have candy or sugary cereal at home. But I bake with my kids, and we often go to Starbucks or a cafè for a treat during the weekends.

I stock up the pantry and fridge with fresh, unprocessed foods, and usually let my kids pick they own snacks. That way I don't have to deny them, because I know most of the stuff is good.

I have a tendency to be very all-or-nothing and crash diet, so moderation doesn't come easy to me. I'm working on it!

I couldn't agree with you more on the point of junk food! My diet was restricted as a child and now I eat Hershey's bars, donuts, and Mountain Dew all day. I know my kids are watching me eat junk so why shouldn't they be allowed a little every now and again?

The other day my close friend who has just one child, an 8 month old, asked me why do children bounce off the walls when they have sugar. She said that she never did that. I told her that it's usually those kids who are totally restricted, "sugar is the devil" kids whose systems go crazy when they ingest even the tiniest piece of candy or sugary treat.

I agree.

I tend to take a harder line for the first two years. Partly because I believe these things generally have an even stronger effect on little babies and partly because they tend to be a slippery slope...The first time Grandma sees you letting the kid have a cookie? All bets are off after that.

Anyway, I grew up with my mom preaching moderation (and my Dad was a free for all with the tv and junk food, but he wasn't home as much as my mom) and that's where I am today. I eat some sugary treats, but I try to avoid too many chemicals or preservatives. I watch a little tv most days at night, but not so much.

My Internet addiction on the other hand? Don't suppose I can blame that on my childhood.

Not food, but my parents never had cable and put huge restrictions on tv when I was growing up. Guess who has to give up cable next year when she goes back to school or she'll fail? TV=crack for me.

Love this post.

1000% agree with everything you said. MODERATION is the key.

I think this is one of the things my mom did just right. We weren't denied any specific kinds of food, but we didn't have easy access to it, either. (There were generally no chips or candy in the house, my mom didn't buy soda or sugar cereals, etc). If we could scrape up some change and get our own butts to the corner store, we were welcome to have whatever. I don't remember eating a ton of junk but at the same time it didn't hold any mystique to me, either. I liked it, but could live with it or without it. Today I think I have a pretty healthy relationship with food, so I'm definitely trying to take my mom's lead on this one.

yeah, I take a similar approach. my mom NEVER let us have sugar either,and now my siblings and I are all sugar addicts. the more you deny something, the more they want it. all things in moderation.

We were the house other kids came to for their ice cream sundae, Fritos and Cheez-It fixes. Not to mention our unfettered access to MTV and R rated movies.

When stuff isn't "forbidden" it is far less attractive. I don't think it's an accident that neither my sister nor I struggled with our weight or had an eating disorder.

I don't buy much of the "bad stuff," but if we're at a friend's house and they're eating Doritos, my kids are welcome to join in.


You're right - it's all about balance and moderation. I have given up on even trying to portray that my kids eat super well.

For us, any foods with sugar need some nutrition to them as well - so we eat teddy grahams and all natural fruit snacks. Juice is really just a splash of juice in water, and milk is given freely. Candy is a very special treat, and soda is still unheard of.

When my girls are older, they're going to have to make these choices for themselves. I'd rather they learn about moderation and making good choices rather than outright forbid anything with little nutritional value and have them sneak it & gorge when they're older.

Besides, life is too short to not have cupcakes occasionally.

In my circle of folks, I'm one of the most 'concerned' with what my daughter ingests - partly due to my own health issues (which are also genetically linked). Still, what you are saying is right - it's about striking a balance that is not just healthy for a child's physical well-being, but your family's sanity, too. And I believe it's an ever-evolving balance.

Well said, as always!

Balance is great and thanks for making me feel so not alone!

"I often wonder if it's really about the food. Or the television. Or if it has to do more with the parent's fear. And need to control."

Yes, thank you! And our constant need to judge each other as good parents or bad parents.

It's called everything in moderation. I don't generally buy cookies at my house. My kids get plenty of that at their dad's. Yesterday, my 6yo and I made cookies and they were allowed to eat them. It's fine everyone once in a while.

I have a family member who won't let her two and a half year old eat any crunchy food (carrots, celery, apples, etc) for fear that he will choke. He is also not allowed to walk up or down stairs, run on a playground or go down a slide alone.

My two and a half year old chokes, coughs it up immediately and carries on. She has bumps and bruises and scars and scabs. Bringing her in the to ER to get her forehead glued back together sucked but overall, I'm glad she's fearless and can handle herself.

Yep. I agree. And a friend of mine who studies this kind of thing has found that restrictive behavior does exactly what you say -- it breeds the opposite. Surely you know about MeMe Roth? I am OBSESSED with the nutbar that is MeMe Roth. Her kids are, if you don't mind me saying so, completely fucked and destined for obesity, and I don't say that smugly. I say it sadly.

(This story is only the half of it. The woman is insanity personified.)


My friend Donata was not allowed to have PB&J. Guess what she wanted every time she came to our house?

Thank you...ditto ditto ditto!

I love your point of view. Moderation is the key. In my opinion, sugar is often used as an excuse for bad badhavior when parents are embarrassed upon seeing your mortified face as their child jumps from your couch to your sofa table, only pausing to sneeze before somersaulting onto the floor. Don't get me wrong - I know sugar can put a little more fuel to the fire. And I have used that "too much sugar" in my defense too. But really - think it's more about what they're doing than what they're eating. I do advocate for a decently healthy lifestyle. While my kids eat a lot of organic foods - including tons of fruits and veggies, they also eat a fair amount of neon orange cheese powder (Cheetos rule!) and the delicious lip/butt combination. They eat sugar in moderation (I too water down the juice!)and they are both incredibly well adjusted, smart kids. (most days!) They bounce off the walls just as much as their friends who down cartons of fruit snacks hourly. They just don't crash as hard. :o)

I too have always believed in mothering, not s"mothering".
Childhood is what we spend the rest of our lives trying to get over.

See, my mantra with the nasty food is that i'm not going to buy any and keep it at home, but I would never deny her a piece of birthday cake or a cookie at grandma's house. As a kid whose parents showed love with a 5-pound box of Lemonheads and a freezer full of Little Debbies, I'd like my own kids to skip the years of body hatred and dental work.

I agree very much and especially being perceived as someone more "crunchy" than others, I am all about balance and moderation and just living life and not freaking out about every little (or even big) thing. And I can see right through the Moms that do freak out about it... you know most of them are hitting up the McD's drive thru when they think no one else is looking.


everything in moderation right? I like that mantra :)

I think the secret to everything is parenting is balance.

My 15 yo niece still wears an over the shoulder harness in the car for safety. But her family dines at McD's a lot. My 5 yo is in a traditional booster and seatbelt but eats from the organic farmers market. Who's to say which child is in a better place. I quit listening to the scary stories about crashes (while driving to fast food places?) and I don't share my nutritional advise with them- they'd never listen anyway.

There is a place in this world for the frosted strawberry pop tart with the little sprinkles on top... mmmm

So, I'm not killing my kids for allowing them to eat a bowl of sugared cereal, or pop tart, every now and again?

Thank you for saying it out loud.

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