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Old 12-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #1
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Limiting junk food for toddler question

So I have a friend whose DD is not quite 2 years old. The other day her DD pulled gum out of her purse and my friend gave her a tiny piece. I have also seen her routinely let her drink coffee drinks and pop. I dont think I gave her a funny look or anything (I am not one to judge others' parenting), but she went on to explain she doesn't limit any foods she gives her DD because she wants her to learn to say "no" on her own. Her DD is also a terrible eater and she constantly asks me for advice and recipes to get more veggies and protein in dd's diet.

I, on the other hand, am pretty strict when it comes to ds's diet (almost 3). I do have coffee and pop ocassionally, but have never let ds have any. I dont keep any sweets or junk food in the house, but we will go for a cookie or ice cream treat ocassionally (or fries at a restaurant). But I always restrict when and how much junk he can have. He is an amazing eater though- loves whatever I cook.

So now I am paranoid. DH is overweight and really struggles with self control and food (his words, not mine). I always thought that at a toddler age showing ds when and how much junk is appropriate to eat was my job. Am I creating a kid who will have no self control because I control it for him? Or are we both at the extremes and need to move more to the middle?


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Old 12-11-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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Im with you. If you dont teach limits and healthy eating habits how will they learn? My girls are a bit older(7 and 5) and I have recently let them experience to many sweets. I have spent yrs teaching and talking but I also see the value in letting them see exactly how it feels to eat to much. I dont mean I give them cookies, candy and a cake and say 'have at it' but I have asked them if they thought eating more sweets was a good idea or not. Now most times they stop but every once in a while they need an 'oh yeah, thats why I shouldnt eat so much!' moment (dont we all need those ).
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #3
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You are totally in the right, mama. At that age, your DS cannot make a properly informed decision about what he should and should not eat. It honestly sounds like you are doing wonderfully if he eats everything you cook! It sounds like we have a similar approach to food as you, and while my DH is not overweight, he does have serious self control issues with food. Part of the reason there is never any junk in the house - he will inhale it in a matter of days/hours.

When your DS can understand nutritional value and how foods affect his body, THEN he can make the decision to eat what he wants (and honestly, my teenage brother is not at this point yet and my mom still has to put her foot down sometimes and say STOP! You cannot eat ALL of the cookies I just made). At this age, though, you are responsible for making food choices for him (to a certain extent, obviously you can't force him to eat anything) and it sounds like you're doing a great job!
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:47 PM   #4
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Re: Limiting junk food for toddler question

I agree too. I do ask my kids (5.5 and 2.5) what they'd like to eat, but we don't keep junk in the house so they never pick that. We do have treats here and there, but I want my kids to value nutrition and realise that a few treats now and again won't hurt, but you don't need to have them on a regular basis. My mom never bought treats either and I have a healthy outlook on nutrition
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:56 PM   #5
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Re: Limiting junk food for toddler question

Of course a 2 year old will want to eat junk if given the choice, it tastes better than veggies do. IMO, that is where their parents come into play - in guiding and shaping their eating habits so that they are able to make responsible decisions when they are older.

My son has had a sip of my coffee more times than I can count and has had sips of soda here and there and occasionally sugary treats, too. I think it can be detrimental to go too far in either direction, moderation is the key in all things.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:19 PM   #6
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Re: Limiting junk food for toddler question

I think there is a huge difference in allowing a child to have a "sip" of something and filling their sippy/bottle with soda or coffee. My kids have had sips of each and bits of junk here and there. Both are great eaters and will eat whatever I make when they are hungry. I have a friend whose son is only allowed to have sweets at bday parties and he is so obsessed with that at the party that he can't pay attention to anything else(he's 3 and a hugely picky eater). I think everything is fine in moderation and you as the parent have to make sure that healthy choices are available more often than poor choices. There is nothing wrong with a healthy diet, but there is something wrong with being so extreme about limitations that it affects your child negatively.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:28 PM   #7
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I think it's important to teach limits and not just make everything off limits. BUT... I also think 2 is too young for some of that crap - pop, most particularly.

We give sweets, but I'm fairly picky because she's 2. I will be more lenient when she's older.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:21 PM   #8
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Re: Limiting junk food for toddler question

It's about balance for us. And no, I don't think that a child should be allowed to choose what they eat all of the time. They can choose from good options, but allowing them to choose junk just isn't going to work unless you set the example and teach them to eat healthy food. They are children, and we are their parents. That's the way it is for a reason. They don't always or often know what's better for them.
I keep a few little treats in the house, like chocolate chips and we might have a few during the day, but I don't allow her to pick the food that she eats even though I only have healthy food. Even healthy food isn't good when you eat too much of one thing. My daughter would eat yogurt ALL day, every day. But that wouldn't be good for her either. Oh, and I do allow my daughter to drink coffee with milk. I don't like to be hypocritical about eating/drinking. Unless it's alcoholic, I let her try it, in small toddler-sized portions. She actually loves coffee and drinks it with no sugar. She also loves kombucha.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:45 PM   #9
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Re: Limiting junk food for toddler question

I don't think so. You're teaching him good eating habits, which will stick with him. Even those times when he does eat more junk than normal, his understanding of a "normal diet" will be what he's doing right now.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:30 AM   #10
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Re: Limiting junk food for toddler question

I think you can relax, mama

I don't think it's appropriate for a two year old to drink coke, coffee, tea (caffeinated) or any other sugary caffeine-filled drink. Heck, they have enough energy as it is.

Sure, juice here and there or maybe a sip of a coke if they just want to taste it, but not as an actual honest-to-goodness drink. But, I really don't think adults should drink much coke either...

We do give DS dessert pretty frequently, and interestingly he usually only eats one bite and then that's it. His favorite is chocolate chips, so I keep miniature chocolate chips in the freezer and he gets about a teaspoon a couple nights a week as dessert. It's enough for a little something sweet but not so much that it's excessive, either.

We don't keep chips or other junk food around, really. Our "junk foods" are fruit leathers, applesauce pouches, individually wrapped prunes, and goldfish crackers. And I feel bad if he eats too much of that stuff, hahaha.
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