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Do Parents Know Best When it Comes to Childhood Nutrition?

Are parents still able to make the right choices when it comes to feeding their kids?

Almost every day, it seems like someone tells me what I should and shouldn’t feed my children.

Some expert or official or even a family member will take it upon themselves to inform me what foods are good for my children, and which ones should be kept at least 10 feet away from them.

And while I understand that there is an epidemic of childhood obesity these days, I often find myself a bit put off whenever I am given a talking to about nutrition.

Don’t get me wrong—I am diligent about making sure that my children’s diet is, for the most part, healthy. I make sure they have several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods that are high in protein and iron each day. I also keep a watchful eye on my kids’ sugar intake.

However, I am not obsessive about it. When I was growing up, I quite often noticed that my parents kept a lot of the fun, yummy foods like cookies to a minimum in our house while most of my friends all seemed to have stockpiles of junk food at their homes.

So what did I do? I hoarded the junk food that was at my friends’ houses and, on the rare occasion that a box of cookies or chips should come through the door at my house, I inhaled the stuff as if I were a vacuum cleaner.

The result is that I now crave junk food and probably eat more of it than I should. I typically watch what I eat and exercise on a regular basis to keep myself in good physical shape, but I think I wouldn’t have to work nearly as hard as I do at it if I didn’t have a penchant for sweet, salty and "carby" foods.

So, yes, I do give my kids cookies, and I do occasionally take them to (gasp!) McDonald’s for a lunch treat. In moderation, I see this as a part of childhood.

I also make sure my kids stay active. I see that they get at least an hour a day to run around outside after school, weather permitting.

My daughter plays soccer and takes dance lessons. I will be signing my son up for his first soccer lessons this summer as well.

They get plenty of time to exercise at school because, thankfully, their school is one of the few that has kept physical education in the curriculum.

My kids are in good physical shape, and I intend to keep it that way. But I wish to do it in my own way. I really do think I know how to feed my children. 

While there are some parents who may need some guidance about adequate nutrition, I believe most parents do know how to make the right nutritional choices for their kids.

So what do you think? Should people on the outside tell us how to feed our children or do parents still know best?

Kyla Keime April 27, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Charlotte, are we picking up the same vibes this week? My article was seeking the advice on requiring your children to clean thier plate at dinner time. In response to your article, I would love to live in a world where I see the good in all people. I would love to say that all parents do know best, but unfortunately we both know it's not true. However, the parents voice (when reasonable), should always come first and yes, parents usally know what is best for thier own children. I know that I have one child that crave salt and meat and my other craves sweets. Bottom line, both are encourage to excercise (both of my children are runners and my son trains with Pro Force Batavia). My husband and I constantly harp on healthy bodies and feuling with good food, not junk. We allow our kids to splurge because we do, everyone need a treat now and then. Kids or adults, food and excercise should all be about balance.
Charlotte Norgaard April 27, 2011 at 11:01 PM
I absolutely agree with you Kyla. Unfortunately a lot of food preferences that lasts throughout your life begins in childhood, and some parents for whatever the reason are not able to make the right decisions when it comes their child's nutrition. However, I believe that that is more the exception, than the rule. I believe strongly that parents who do the right thing when it comes to feeding their children right should continue have the authority to make nutritional decisions for them at all times. Funny thing is, I don't remember childhood obesity being an issue until after physical education was cut out of the curriculum of many schools. You are right, physical activity is the key here!

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