“Mom, why does junk food taste so good?” Good question! I know exactly how she feels, you see among other things, she’s also inherited my sweet tooth. “You’re right” trying to come across as factual. “It does taste good”. However, I can see these confirmations do not answer her question to her satisfaction. She is conflicted by the fact that she would rather eat sweets over healthy foods.
I don’t want her to feel mixed up or guilty for enjoying sweets once in a while. I want her to feel okay about her indulgences, but honestly it’s also my responsibility to help her be able to choose the healthy choice most of the time. I want her to understand this fine balancing act because I know that if kids fill up on sweets and highly processed foods, they no longer have an appetite for nutritious foods.
So it’s about helping her make healthy choices the majority of time. As parents we help by having healthy food options available. Try to:
- Have fresh or dried fruit instead of fruit roll-ups.
- Serve whole wheat bread instead of white.
- Serve lean cuts of meat such as turkey or chicken breast instead of processed meats such as sausage or hot dogs.
- Set clear family rules on when it’s acceptable to eat sweets. It’s okay once in a while, everything in moderation.
- Serve fresh fruit for a sweet treat.
- Limit the availability of sugary drinks in your home.
- Keep introducing new healthy snacks.
- Offer a lot of healthy choices. Don’t force your child to eat.
- Talk to a health professional if you are concerned with your child’s eating habits.
Finally, I do answer her question of “why does junk food taste so good?” I talk about the food industry and how they make certain food meet our “bliss point”… and that’s why it tastes so good. What’s a bliss point she asks? It’s about having the perfect amount of sugar that makes a food sweet and then makes our brain want more of it. I can see that she understands…
Now having said this, we still both enjoy our sweets once in a while… but we both grab an apple a little more often now!
How do you help your kids make healthy snack choices?
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.