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To be pissed off my 4 yo had to learn about 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' foods

(76 Posts)
JumpRope Tue 11-Feb-14 21:24:55

We have always had a massive variety of wholefoods for our family meals - loads of veggies, lentils, lean meat, liver,fish, brown rice & pasta etc. DCs eat pretty much all of it, and love my cooking. He's obviously had parties and eaten lots of crap, and we have tins of rice pudding and jelly sometimes etc.
But since going to school, he has started talking a lot about things being healthy and unhealthy. He spent a while asking me whether what he was having was healthy or un - labelling foods in his mind - which pissed me off, because I believe far more important is the overall combination of foods you are taking in, not individual items.
He came home from school today and asked for an 'unhealthy snack'. FFS. I think this is misguided, and we are trying to educate the wrong people about healthy snacking. If they didn't have many crap foods on offer, it wouldn't be the onus on the child to choose the healthy option at school or elsewhere.
Its an independent school, but obv this is an initiative across the board. I think its arse over tit. AIBU?

theluckiest Tue 11-Feb-14 21:33:05

I had exactly this last weekend when 6 yr old DS came back from Beavers talking about 'good' and 'bad' foods. I was brought up thinking that sweets / chocs, etc were ' naughty' and consequently craved them even more.

We then had a discussion about how we eat a range of foods as part of a balanced diet and make healthy choices. I did also want to question why the Beaver leader teaches the children about naughty foods then sells them bags of haribo from the tuck shop.

I also questioned that bacon was classified as a 'bad' food when we all know that bacon is the food of the gods and one reason why life is worth living. ;)

Fairenuff Tue 11-Feb-14 21:37:43

You are complaining that your child is being educated at school? confused

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 11-Feb-14 21:39:52


Pigletin Tue 11-Feb-14 21:40:31

What a strange thing to be pissed off about

Back2Basics Tue 11-Feb-14 21:42:36

No YANBU my dc come home sprouting calories are bad for you, all dairy is bad for you ect ect argh and I then again explain all food is ok in small amounts, no low fat yogurts are not better for you ect ect. It really gets my goat.

WorraLiberty Tue 11-Feb-14 21:42:42

We have always had a massive variety of wholefoods for our family meals - loads of veggies, lentils, lean meat, liver,fish, brown rice & pasta etc. DCs eat pretty much all of it, and love my cooking.

Well bully for them confused

Why do you have a problem with everyone being educated about this?

specialsubject Tue 11-Feb-14 21:44:06

no, she's got a point. Very few foods are healthy or unhealthy in themselves, it is all about balance.

the idea of 'bad' food is how food guilt comes about.

HamletsSister Tue 11-Feb-14 21:45:32

Education is often one size fits all. For every whole food liver eating, lentil loving four year old, there is one living on cheese strings and Haribo. Surely you must accept hat there has to be some education in order to save your son from having to fund all the gastric bands and diabetes medication for his, and subsequent, generations.

And what is and isn't healthy changes all the bloody time so teachers have a hard job keeping up!

jemjelly Tue 11-Feb-14 21:45:54

YANBU - I think it is fine to eat "bad" foods sometimes so long as you have a balanced diet, a little bit of what you fancy is okay so long as you eat heathy the rest of the time. Banning certain foods just makes kids crave them more.

I hate the food police.

birdsnotbees Tue 11-Feb-14 21:46:12

Yabu. A lot of kids grow up in households where they don't get the range of foods your children do. They need to learn the basics of what's "good" and "bad" as they won't learn it at home. If you're bringing up your kids to have a healthy, everything in moderation approach to food then you don't need to worry what school teaches them - it'll be second nature. But it could just help those children who don't have similar set ups at home.

HesterShaw Tue 11-Feb-14 21:46:13

I don't think it's a strange thing to be pissed off about. OP's son sounds like he's too little to understand it properly - and what four year old would? Surely food is food to them, and they are fed rather than making food choices. His request for an "unhealthy snack" sounds like he hasn't really got it.

It's never to young to learn about food, but at four surely they should be learning it's fun to make and prepare sensible meals rather than labelling foods as bad and good.

FannyBazaar Tue 11-Feb-14 21:48:39

YANBU but you have years of this to come! My DS in year 4 had to write a food diary and label his meals as 'healthy' or 'unhealthy'. Only space to write in for 3 meals, no snacks so not really an accurate picture of the day either. Wait til they get taught about use by dates...

ConfusedPixie Tue 11-Feb-14 21:49:09

Yanbu. I had a debate with some of my scouts the other week trying to explain that moderation is key, not 'bad' and 'good' foods as they have been taught in school recently.

Innogen Tue 11-Feb-14 21:49:10

Kids need this IMO.


birdsnotbees Tue 11-Feb-14 21:49:15

My son was old enough to make choices at 4 - mainly chocolate if he had his way! And we're a healthy bunch... So yes, beginning to distinguish between foods that are nice but have no nutritional value and foods that do is helpful for children that young.

whojamaflip Tue 11-Feb-14 21:53:30

I have an 8 yr old dd food refuser thanks to this so called education. I truly fail to see the point of teaching a little girl that certain foods will make her fat! confused Especially when that child takes it to heart and decides to stop eating anything she considers unhealthy eg no cheese or butter as they contain fat!


FredFredGeorge Tue 11-Feb-14 21:58:18

YAB a little U, there are always things which schools and others teach which are just plain wrong, or not the whole story, or over-simplified etc.

One of the parts of your job as a parent is teaching your children how to be a critical thinker, how to understand that what they are taught is never the whole story, and how widely believed things can be wrong.

Avoiding ever teaching anything with any controversy would fail - you couldn't even teach English grammar, although you could possibly get away with a lot of maths.

Good and Bad or Healthy and Unhealthy are never good things to teach a child without that critical thought, and part of bringing up a child is that - but it's not purely the schools job.

MrsOakenshield Tue 11-Feb-14 21:59:18

actually, I'm not convinced that your diet is that healthy or balanced for a small child - it's very fibre-heavy, which developing guts can't deal with. Young children don't need brown rice and pasta.

Nothing wrong with this - just explain that unhealthy foods are those you have in moderation, and healthy ones you can have as much as you like.

NannyR Tue 11-Feb-14 22:05:31

The four year old I look after came home the other day and told me that her tea was "very bad food". The meal in question was homemade meatballs with tomato sauce, broccoli, carrots and rice.

Apparently, a mum who works as a nutritionist had come into class to do a healthy eating talk and told them that all white carbs, e.g. Bread, rice, pasta are bad for you (maybe that's not what she was trying to get across, but that's what the kids took away from the lesson)

I know that white carbs aren't great for you, but for a growing child as part of a balanced meal, a portion of boiled white rice is fine.

humha Tue 11-Feb-14 22:05:40

I agree with you OP. Herein the road to eating disorders lie. I hope your dd comes out of this phase soon, whojama. Don't mean to imply she's on her way to an ED. the most positive thing is, you are aware of and monitoring what she is doing. Makes me really sad. sad

JennyCalendar Tue 11-Feb-14 22:07:08


I hate this black and white thinking of food being either healthy or unhealthy. I think it would be more useful to teach kids about balance, such as 'Eat lots of...' Eat some...' and 'Eat a few...'

OK, the category names could probably be better, but you get the idea.

Experts can't even seem to agree regarding nutrition either. For example, I would rather eat (and DS to eat) something with sugar occasionally rather than something artificial sweeteners. I avoid 'low fat' foods like the plague as they are often stuffed with all sorts of other crap.

I just worry that this kind of labelling of good and bad early on does not help children learn about all things in moderation and a balanced diet.

JumpRope Tue 11-Feb-14 22:09:08

Ok, imagine the 4 yo whose home life does consist of cheese strings and haribo. They come home and say no thanks. They can't then choose the healthy option because there isn't one.
The children don't do the shopping at home. Really, educating them about making choices is totally pointless if the options aren't there in the first place??

cosikitty Tue 11-Feb-14 22:12:09

YANBU, I hate this!

Especially as what they teach them in school is often open to debate, such as low fat being good, etc.

JumpRope Tue 11-Feb-14 22:13:07

MrsO - I do think about the fibre issue. We don't go for Weetabix or Shredded Wheat etc, as they seem terribly harsh (have porridge instead). I try to balance it, they occasionally have refined carbs too, but in general I don't like 'white' things, so don't buy.

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