Discussing "healthy" food with a 4yo?

(7 Posts)

DD is 4.2 and has just told me that cake isn't healthy. We've always been careful not to label foods as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy so I'm not sure where this has come from (she says no-one told her, it's something she just knows).

I've explained that cake is fine to eat, just like everything else, as long as you don't eat too much of it. But I'm not sure how to handle the healthy/unhealthy aspect of this - admittedly cake isn't as healthy as carrots but I don't want my children growing up thinking of certain foods as bad or naughty.

Sorry if this is a bit rambling - I have food issues myself and I'm not sure how much that affects my thinking about this.

valiumredhead Thu 05-Sep-13 14:30:45

You did the right thing. She's just parroting what she hears at nursery.

gnittinggnome Thu 05-Sep-13 15:51:51

Could you bake a cake with her and talk to her about the different ingredients? Or maybe make a very simplified food pyramid, showing the right proportions of food we ought to be eating, so she can see that cake has a place, but in a small amount? I have no idea if that's an age appropriate response, but it would be a shame if she picked up negative issues over food from outside influences.

Thanks both. smile

I like the food pyramid idea, she'd understand that quite easily. She loves baking (and eating the results!) so thishas thrown me a little. She started school yesterday so I wonder whether there's been a mention of healthy snacks or something.

sharond101 Thu 05-Sep-13 22:31:44

This is a conversation I dread. I've had food issues from a young age caused by a negative influence from my parents that some foods were good some were bad so I want to avoid that connection with my LO too. Watching with interest.

mummyxtwo Fri 06-Sep-13 10:15:01

Ds1 has eating issues due to severe reflux and feeding difficulties as a baby. He is making good progress but the only fruit and veg he will eat are apple and raw carrot sticks. He will happily eat cake and crisps and chips, so I had to explain healthy / unhealthy to him, as he was asking why he had to eat the carrots sticks and not just crisps?!

He understands that energy gives him 'running legs' and he gets energy from food. I've told him that some food helps you grow bigger, like veg and fruit and meat, and some things give you strong bones, like milk and yoghurt and cheese, but some food just gives you a little bit of 'running legs' but not for long and doesn't help you grow, ie. cake and chocolate and crisps. We've not used the words healthy or unhealthy, just talked about foods in terms of what they give you. (Chicken: "this will give you running legs and help you grow bigger!") Seems to have satisfied ds1! He is 4.9yo btw.

mummyxtwo Fri 06-Sep-13 10:16:46

Forgot to add, I don't tell him that cake is "bad", just that he needs to eat enough foods which help him to grow big and strong, not just foods which give him temporary "running legs"!

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