bernlo's picture

unhealthy eating outside of the house

I try to get my daughter to eat right. I serve well-balanced and healthy meals at home (ok, most of the time), but once she leaves the house, she gorges on junk food. She and her friends binge on candy, chips, soda etc at sleepovers and I suspect she uses the vending machines at school, even though I have told her I don't want her spending her lunch money on that junk. Is there any way I can control her eating habits when she is out of the house? I think a little junk food every now and then is ok, but not on a daily basis.

nibbiesmom's picture

hi bernelo
does your daughter have to take lunch money or can you pack her a lunch. if you can't pack her a lunch see how much it actually cost to buy the healthier foods at the cafeteria. and then give her an alotted amount so that if she does decide to eat unhelthy thing with the money she will come home hungry and eat more of the healthy foods that you have prepared for her there

LipglossLady's picture

In my opinion, the more you forbid what you consider "junk food", the more she is going to gorge on it when she is out of your sight.  Kids are no different than adults when it comes to food...if I tell myself "no more chocolate" then of course I am going to WANT more chocolate! :)   Even nutritionists say the "80/20" rule is best:  eat right 80% of the time and the other 20% can be the foods that you really want that might not be so healthy.  At least you are doing a good job at home!  Not a lot of parents can even say that much! :)

Cristi555's picture

Actually, the answer is much easier than you would think! As a parent, you are the most important and memorable teacher your children will ever have! Teachers come and go, you will always be there! Find opportunities to teach your daughter about healthy food, why it is important to eat healthy, long-term results of eating healthy versus eating junk food. Ask her to explain to you how she sees herself as an adult (physically fit or someone who has to work to pay for medical bills, someone who exercises and enjoys sunshine, or someone who is stuck inside all the time - you get the picture, use your own words).Then show her how healthy eating will help her reach her long term goals. Be a good role model for her as well. Children do what you do, not what you say!

miriamzipporah's picture

Hello Bernlo,

I agree with the other parent. It is totally impossible to control what your child eat once he/she is out of the house. The most important thing you can do is teach her the correct foods to eat and how they affect your health as oppose to unhealthy foods and the problems they cause your body. It's worked for me but I have to remind my daughther about this from time to time.

herbalmom's picture

I agree with the fact the you can't control what she eats when she isn't at home, and it sounds as if you are setting a good example at home.  Maybe a good vitamin supplement daily will be a good idea, at least give you peace of mind.

Is she really bingeing, or just eating some junk food.  Because if it's just a couple of sodas and a bag of chips at a sleepover I wouldn't worry.  But if it's tons of stuff, then I would consider showing her some cool websites on vegetarianism.  Teens are really interested in that, and it surely will show some good eating habits.  Even if she doesn't go vegie, it might encourage her to eat better.

Good Luck!

diatom's picture

I agree with the other replies- help educate your daughter more on the effects of eating a lot of junk food and keep up the good meals at home. My kids are younger (7 and 9 1/2) and they will often comment on how much "junky food" was at a party or they saw someone else eat. I know they indulge a bit outside of the home, but it's not much. We often talk about what food groups we are eating for a particular meal and what else they could eat to round out the meal. My son is not a fan of vegetables and I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate them.

My kids bring their lunches to school and often get positive comments about their food from the lunchroom monitors. It's amazing what kids eat for lunch at school (sometimes I join the kids for lunch). We live in New York State, which is working to eliminate junk food from vending machines and make healthier food choices in the cafeteria. I joined the "Wellness Committee" at school and have learned a lot.

I told my daughter about the film "Supersize Me" (about the guy who experimented with eating at McDonalds for 3 meals a day for 30 days and got pretty sick) and she was eager to see it. The movie is filled with a lot of good nutrition information for kids, but unfortunately one small segment is less appropriate for kids (intimacy problems discussed). Maybe you could preview it and see if you think it will help your daughter. Good luck!