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to think we need to stop using what we feed our children as the main measure for our parenting skills

(130 Posts)
jumpyjan Tue 12-Jan-10 15:40:24

I am so fed up with the constant discussion in the media over what we feed our children and have heard some extremelly annoying self rightous people on phone ins regarding the latest packed lunch story today.

Whilst I strongly believe in a healthy diet and believe children behave better when they eat well etc I resent the government constantly telling us how to parent and the way that people seem to measure how good a parent you are on the sole basis of what you feed your child. A childs nutrition is of course extremelly important but it is one element of parenting.

It seems like parents who feed their children certain foods are looked down upon while some parents who feed their children healthy foods expect a pat on the back. It just seems like snobbery to me.

Why can't we make our own decisions about what to feed our children without feeling the need to feel smug/ashamed about it.

southeastastra Tue 12-Jan-10 15:41:24


skidoodle Tue 12-Jan-10 15:42:59


onefatoneshortonelean Tue 12-Jan-10 15:44:59

Amd while we are at it, can we stop medicalising food. You hear dcs saying things like 'I eat oranges because they have lots of vitamins in' and 'I like football because it keeps me active'. I can remember when oranges were tasty and football was fun.

WildSeahorses Tue 12-Jan-10 15:45:00

Agreed - what you feed your kids does matter, but so do many other things (which are sometimes less easy to control - I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the food obsessives control that aspect of childrearing because it's an "easy win" compared to some other aspects of parenting).

WildSeahorses Tue 12-Jan-10 15:46:49

Also agree about medicalising food - what is wrong with eating for enjoyment's sake? Learning to balance your diet while appreciating treats is key to a healthy relationship with food imo.

lambanana Tue 12-Jan-10 15:53:00


Everything in moderation is my motto (except when I am out in town with my mates and then this rule does not apply!)

shivster1980 Tue 12-Jan-10 15:55:00


GetOrfMoiLand Tue 12-Jan-10 15:58:57

Yes but onefatone - a mars a day keeps the doctors away. I don't mind following that advice grin

To be honest as much as they like to go on about policing packed lunches, no matter how the government thinks that school dinners are all hunky dory due to Jamie Oliver, they are not. Hence we are in this stupid situation where a child is monitored by lunchtime assistants and no allowed to have a chocolate biscuit, however if they had school dinners it is perfectly acceptable to have Sodexo made chocolate shortbread.

fernie3 Tue 12-Jan-10 16:00:58

YANBU I think sometimes healthy eating has gone a bit hysterical

jumpyjan - I'm sick of it too. I think the Government needs to recognise that individuals are individual (dur!) The BBC news made me want to scream 'FRUIT AND VEG ARE NOT HEALTHY!!!!!' at the TV this morning! A balanced diet and good amount of exercise is healthy. You need all the food groups and children need a much higher relative proportion of fat in their diets than adults, telling people what they are allowed to feed their children will not help. Teaching children properly about food groups (what gives them/does what), understanding that no food is the enemy and sugary things don't have to be seen as 'treats' and respecting that people generally are individuals who live different lives and have different needs would go a long way.

I'm sick of the "Well, if he eats all the good stuff he hates then I don't see why he can't have chocolate as a reward." stuff too. Who says children should view one thing as 'good' but not fashionable to enjoy eating and one thing as a treat because eating too much of it might be a bad thing. I don't make my children eat things they dislike, I give them a healthy diet and a treat is something they want and can be anything - green beans, white bait, chocolate, sweets, a banana e.t.c. well, anything really. To me a treat is something outside main nutrition that they want and have to earn in some minute way. There shouldn't be a rule that if it's not considered an unhealthy thing it's not considered a treat and we should be allowed to choose to put whatever we like in our children's lunchboxes. Forcing someone who is giving their child an unhealthy diet and allowing a lack of exercise to put different things in a lunch box won't make the child more healthy will it because the child lives with the parent and a minority of it's upbringing is done by the school. So, what is the point? You apply blanket rules all you do is damage and undermine the people who are doing OK. You can never know what is going on, diabetes, weight issues e.t.c.



jumpyjan Tue 12-Jan-10 16:03:18

Wildseahorses - I think that is a good point about people obsessing over this one aspect because it is easier to control than other elements of parenting.

I think the Government has undermined our confidence in our own parenting abilities so much with its constant nannying that many feel they are good parents if they do as the Government tell them and if their DC is sitting there muching on a carrot stick instead of a bag of wotsits!

thesecondcoming Tue 12-Jan-10 16:04:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheCrackFox Tue 12-Jan-10 16:05:07


There is no such thing as bad food but a bad diet.

Most parents try their best and that should be acknowledged too. However, the media seem to delight in spouting just how crap parents (they really mean mums) are nowadays.

OtterInaSkoda Tue 12-Jan-10 16:13:17

A big YANBU from me.

Also what onefatone says.

Undercovamutha Tue 12-Jan-10 16:15:16

YANBU. People should be educated but not policed. I don't want to be told that I can't put a chocolate biscuit in my DCs lunch box. For all the school know that is the only bit of chocolate my child has had all week. What is the problem with that FGS?

However, people at the very extreme (e.g. the example on another thread of a child who had 2 bags of haribo and a kitkat) need to be advised that that is not appropriate.

Surely though we shouldn't all be treated like bad parents who need to be checked on and policed, just because there are a few loony bins who think sweets and crisps and coke are a balanced diet for a small child.

southeastastra Tue 12-Jan-10 16:16:41

hold on, two packets of haribo and a kitkat is 'extreme' rofl grin

OrmIrian Tue 12-Jan-10 16:18:15

I care more about what goes into their heads than into their stomachs.

jumpyjan Tue 12-Jan-10 16:25:18

Curiosity - yes agree annoying that everything is classified into good or bad. We are so lucky in this country - we have food in abundance - the supermarket shelves are full of it! The way people carry on about certain foods would make you think you would be better going hungry.

Why must we obsess and pick over everything we eat as though we need permission to feed certain things to our children. Well, actually, I know why - because the Government make us feel this way.

We can make our own decisions.

You can't make policies based on the minority.

Coldhands Tue 12-Jan-10 16:31:45

YANBU. It is all about balance. I was a lot stricter for my DS's 1st year and I have relaxed a bit more during his 2nd year. I always think if I give him something unhealty while we are in public, I will arrested by the food police (saying that, DS will only eat breadsticks/rice cakes/bananas for anyway).

My DS is going through a slight fussy phase where the only tea time meals he will eat is spag bol, pasta in sauce, mild chicken curry with rice, chilli con carne with rice or jacket potato with beans and cheese. According to my nan I need to "wean him off these foods" Why exactly, when at 3 months she asked why I was not weaning and asked if I wanted to give him a chocolate yoghurt?

pantomimecow Tue 12-Jan-10 16:48:19

Incidentally the life expectancy of a fit fat person is better than an unfit slim person.

Undercovamutha Tue 12-Jan-10 17:02:29

Southeast - apparently that's ALL they had. Just a lunchbox with 2 bags haribo and a kitkat - nothing else. That does seem quite extreme to me. I eat a whole load of bad food, but even I think just to have 2 bags of sweets and a choc bar is pretty poor.

southeastastra Tue 12-Jan-10 17:09:03

oh i see!!

Othersideofthechannel Tue 12-Jan-10 17:16:07

I know there is a lot of emphasis on healthy eating in the UK at the moment but does anyone actually use what children are fed as main measure of parenting skills?

piscesmoon Tue 12-Jan-10 17:23:22

I think that people are completely muddled between the sort of low fat diet that an overweight adult needs in order to lose weight and the sort of diet that an average sized, growing DC need. A growing child needs fats and carbohydrates-they just need them in the right percentage of the diet and the right portion sizes. They need lots of exercise. When you have a parent who serves water, plain rice cakes and dried apricots for a 2yr olds birthday party you realise how sad it is! All cultures have festival foods and eating is supposed to be enjoyable!

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