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Is junk food better than no food?

(24 Posts)
rickman Mon 13-Jun-05 21:16:36

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Furball Mon 13-Jun-05 21:17:57

I would say no, but also depends on what you are calling junk food and is that really the only thing he would eat?

emily05 Mon 13-Jun-05 21:18:16

In my experience - if they are eating junk food they wont eat good food iyswim. I had to cut out junk food totally otherwise ds would not eat good food. He has junk food as a treat only. Hope this makes sense

starshaker Mon 13-Jun-05 21:18:29

my nephew only eats chicken nuggets and i really mean thats all he eats i know its not great but hes fine (and before i get jumped i really dont agree with my sister letting him but its better than starving)

zebraZ Mon 13-Jun-05 21:19:15

Would your 3yo really "starve" her/himself?
How "junk" is junk?
Speaking as a food snob. I'd aim for a limited diet (only porridge and bananas all day) rather than let them fill up on a "variety" of junk.

snafu Mon 13-Jun-05 21:21:40

Agree with emily05. But also really sympathise if you're having a battle! What's he/she actually eating?

Blu Mon 13-Jun-05 21:22:59

well, in extremis, yes!
But as a regular habit?

If you are stranded at an airport at night and only Mcd fries available, then fries bettter than hunger.

For one teatime, when DS creates and wants junk instead, 'no food' will do him no harm at all, en route to a healthy habit!

Long term healthy eating is worth short-term self-imposed starvation, iyswim. Better than ongoing salt, fat, hydrogenated fats and E numbers as a staple.

Does that answer your concerns?

rickman Mon 13-Jun-05 21:30:44

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Furball Mon 13-Jun-05 21:48:30

Could you not make your own chicken nuggets ala gingerbear and then maybe sneak in some minced carrot or broccoli without her knowing.

zebraZ Mon 13-Jun-05 21:49:26

I'm not a nutritionist, so take what I say with the usual grain of salt.

BUT to my mind, fat (althougn not hydrog. fats) is good in the diet of a little one. Better than e-numbers/sugar/aspartame And there are healthy versions of chicken nuggets. Chips are brilliant for vitamin C and are almost always cooked in veg. fat nowadays. Personally I would rate chips as healthier than pasta (but don't ask me to justify that!).

So, anyway, a diet of fruit, chips and healthier versions of chicken nuggets doesn't sound like "junk" at all to me. Will she have ketchup on the chips? Does she drink cow's milk or have other milk products, eggs?

pupuce Mon 13-Jun-05 21:56:53

Rikman... have you tried cooking with her ? Making her pick the ingredients, encouraging her to taste?
Have you tried making your own chips (cut potato, shake it in a bag with some olive oil and herbs) and bake for 30 mins very hot oven.
I have worked with very difficult and always made progress but I didn't relent and never rewarded bad behaviour AND STCUK with the "regime", the chikd knew I meant it.
I explain where foods come from, why they are good, explore fruits and veg raw and cooked.... I really believe educating her and making it interesting would help... Jamie Oliver managed to make really poor eater change their diet.

Blu Mon 13-Jun-05 22:06:15

Have you taken her to the Dr about her other symptoms?
I can see why you're worried. Pupuces chips and healthy nuggets sound a good option. Does she have a multi-vitamin?

Ellbell Mon 13-Jun-05 22:28:37


I really sympathise with this. My dd1 was a terrible eater... I mean REALLY terrible. She ate yogurt from age 6 months to age 2. She then moved on to cheese, with brief excursions into the world of hot-dog sausages (gross, yuk, yuk...!) and Heinz (and only Heinz - not any other brand and definitely not home-made!) macaroni cheese! She'd eat bits and pieces of other things (bread, buns... um... nothing healthy) but her diet was really awful.

It got so bad that every mealtime was a battle, with her and often me too in tears. At the age of between 3 and 3-and-a-half I decided to just back off, and let her have the things she'd eat. I then started gradually adding other things - a pea or two here and there, a bit of carrot, etc. She is now just 5 and, while still not the greatest eater in the world (she needs a bit of nagging to get through a plateful), she will now eat most things including fruit and veg and has a pretty good, balanced diet, I think. We've also just re-arranged our timetables a bit and we now all eat dinner together, which I think has helped too (though it's a faff sometimes as we both work and dh does shifts, so I do sometimes end up cooking twice).

It would be worth getting her checked out by a doctor though, as dd's best friend is a similarly poor eater, and has had various health problems (she was anaemic and has just had her tonsils out).

Hang on in there. I'm sure it'll get better!

Ellbell Mon 13-Jun-05 22:31:46

Also agree with Pupuce... cooking together and getting her interested in food has helped my dd too (but it wouldn't have 'cured' her on its own, I have to say...!). Too much info can also be a problem with meat (my dd announced really loudly in Morrison's once: 'Mummy.... We can't eat cow's bottoms, can we?')!

Good luck anyway.

charliecat Mon 13-Jun-05 22:41:30

Hi Rickman, Tanyas the same. Constantly out of nursey having eaten NOTHING.
Tasha used to be like it too.
The only thing I can suggest is writing a list of the decent things she does eat and seeing what meals(ha!) you could make of it.
and add one pea, one carrot, one sausage ...whatever too it and just leave it its not alien to her.
If she eats fruit, like pear or banana have it for pudding with custard if she eats the 1 pea..working up to two, three four...till eating the peas becomes normal.
My dds had a salad tonight, with new potatoes and they ate tomatoe and cucumber and cracker and cheese and new potatoes and im just leaving the spring onions and the coleslaw there for decoration for now. But all of those food they once rejected and refused to eat. Now they love them. Oh a piece of buttered bread so they can make thier own sarnies helps too...they make the strangest concoctions and at first I had to say no eat that before you have your bread, but now they know they MUST eat the food to have the bread.
Ill shhh rambling now good luck!

rickman Mon 13-Jun-05 22:54:05

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Skribble Mon 13-Jun-05 22:55:49

If you are worried about using pre packed food just be picky about which ones you buy, convience food can be a god send if you are working.

Likes of Bernard Mathews just read the ingredients Ugg!
Birds eye and Iceland seem to be making an effort with their foods. If junk food is not in the house then its not an option. Go for healthier or better versions of "junk" food. Fish fingers made from fillet rather than chuch, nuggets made from breast rather than mechaniclly recovered and anything rather than Twizzlers.

As long as you are giving variety and not just nuggets and chips they will survive honest. I found if I just serve dinner rather than standing in front of the freezer asking them what they want helps! Don't let the child dictate what is prepared.

If the family sits down to eat together and expected to eat what is prepared it can help too. If older kids or partner can pick and choose and make seperate things it will always look like there is an option and 3 yr old will expect options too.

zebraZ Tue 14-Jun-05 07:29:07

How tiny is "tiny", rickman?

For comparison: my DD is 3y+8 months, she didn't start wearing 2-3yo size clothes until a few months ago, she weighs just over 13 kg (2stone 1lb, or 29 lbs).

Another thing, did you notice with your other kids a big drop-off in appetite/slow-down in growth between approx. 2y+10m & 3y+8 months? Both of my older 2 did that, DD didn't hardly eaten anything after 4pm for most of the last year or so, but she is finally starting to develop an evening appetite, again. I know another MNetter who was complaining the same thing about her DS. May be partly the age, this growth plateau/appetite fall off, I mean.

Anyway, most days I let mine have 1 bag of crisps (or plain hula hoops)/day (Sainbury's do crisps cooked all in veg oil). The salt isn't wonderful for them, but we don't salt the rest of our food so I reckon it's ok. I don't know why people fuss about chips being so "unhealthy". They can fit in a healthy diet fine, and little kids need fat.

One of our local butcher's does quality chicken nuggets, all "real" ingredients. Expensive, but might be worth looking out for. I suppose in your place I'd give in and let her have the supermarket chicken-nuggets once a week or so.

triceratops Tue 14-Jun-05 07:50:43

I would say don't cut out a major food group like dairy without consulting a doctor. And be careful about the food messages you are giving out. If your partner is labelling some food "bad" and you are telling her that other food is "bad" she may just get the message that food is bad.

Will she eat a pizza? ds loves to make his own pizza although he does pick the majority of the veg off before he eats it, he misses some in his hunger.

She sounds like she eats a good diet already to me, try offering food that you know she likes with a little of something that you are trying to introduce added. This has worked so far with my ds on sweetcorn and tomato, but he has yet to eat a leaf. I never row with him about food, I still don't eat the foods I was made to sit over as a child.

bloss Tue 14-Jun-05 07:56:31

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lilaclotus Tue 14-Jun-05 08:03:07

i used to think junk was better than nothing. it only made matters worse. what helped with dd was to go cold turkey on junk food and to introduce her to all the good food. let her touch it, lick it, tell her all about it. make it fun. then let her help with preparing it, even if she just washed the veg. she now eats loads of veg and asks for fruit as treats.
hth at all.

pupuce Tue 14-Jun-05 09:22:41

Zebra, you posted this : I don't know why people fuss about chips being so "unhealthy". They can fit in a healthy diet fine, and little kids need fat.

Kids need fat but they need the RIGHT kind of fat.

From Suzannah Olivier's book:

Saturated fats: these come mostly from animal products and are solid at room temperature. They include butter, cheese, milk fat, meat fat and eggs. A vegetable source of saturated fat is coconut butter. Polyunsaturated margarines, which have been hydrogenated, become 'dishonourable' members of the saturated fat family. They have been processed from liquid oils to be solid at room temperature, and in so doing have had most of their health benefits destroyed and a few negative effects added for good measure. I do not advise using these margarines. Hydrogenated fats can also be found in any processed food that has used vegetable oils in the manufacturing process. The worst offender are foods such as potato chips, and sweet and savoury pies and pastries."

and it goes on (p46 of he book "What should I feed my baby")

zebraZ Tue 14-Jun-05 09:33:06

Most chippies I ask use barrels of (non-hydrog.) veggie oil. They will bring the barrells out for a customer to look at if you're unsure. Not sure about chips you buy in supermarket, admittedly, have to read the labels.

The Sainsbury's crips I mentioned are done in ordinary veg. oil, not hydrogenated...

You & I totally agree about hydrogenated fats.

snafu Tue 14-Jun-05 09:44:15

Agree with bloss. The list you've given includes protein, calcium, fibre and vitamins including iron. It could be a hell of a lot worse!

I know it's so frustrating though, but a lot of it is perseverance. I had to serve ds my homemade chicken nuggets 3 or 4 times before he'd eat them. Then he'd eat one, next time two, next time three... The odd (non-hydrogenated) chip won't do any harm, imo, but in general I think that eating junk just makes them want to eat junk.

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