What Do You Do if Your Child Insists on Junk Food?

It’s sort of an irony that food, which is very important for our survival, is the very thing that can hasten bad health and death as well. If you don’t eat right, there’s always something wrong with you – you fall ill more often, you’re prone to disease and suffering, and you’re always battling to keep your weight down. And since childhood is the best time to inculcate good habits in your kids, you must start early in teaching them to eat healthy and avoid junk foods and others that are not conducive to good health. However, you cannot supervise your child at all times or insulate them from outside influences; so you must be prepared for them to want to eat unhealthy food because their peers are doing it and because it seems much tastier and appetizing. So what do you do if they insist on eating junk food in spite of your advice against it?

  • Explain to them why junk food is bad: Kids don’t take too well to being ordered around; it’s in their nature to rebel against authority. So instead of shouting at them and forbidding them to eat junk food, sit them down and discuss the negative aspects of unhealthy food with them. Tell them why you insist on eating healthy instead of giving them ultimatums and “or elses”. When you ask reasonably instead of demanding and ordering them around, they tend to listen to you more. They may not altogether stop eating junk food, but they might limit it to the minimum.
  • Use strategic arguments: If they’re pre-teens or teens who are just beginning to accord importance to the way they look, point out to them how junk food will increase their weight and make them obese. Also, the grease and sugar in unhealthy food wreak havoc on their skin and makes them break out into acne or pimples. Tell your daughters that healthy food gives them a glowing complexion and tell your sons that foods rich in protein and vitamins helps grow muscles faster and stronger. When you plan your words in ways that are sure to get through to them, it’s easier to keep them off junk food.
  • Allow them to indulge once in a while: Starvation is the fastest route to binge eating because you’re so desperate for food that you eat much more than you’re supposed to when you get your hands on it. Similarly, if you ban junk food from your kids’ lives altogether, you’re only setting them up to binge when they’re with friends who’re at a fast food joint or not too particular about what they eat. So allow them to eat junk food once in a while, as long as it does not form part of most of their meals and a compulsion whenever they have access to it.
  • Get them to exercise more: And finally, get your kids more interested in exercise to make them feel good about themselves and helps to boost their health and keep their weight down. They don’t have to work out like adults, it’s enough for them to take up a sport and play it enthusiastically. When they get to exercise more, they start to eat less junk food too because they begin to care about the way they look and the state of their health.

You know your kids best, so keep improvising and coming up with new ways to keep them off junk food and food that’s unhealthy.