Am I the only one who thinks American kids are a wee bit oversnacked? It seems like every kid we see at the playground has a Ziploc bag of Goldfish crackers in one hand and a juice box in the other. Can’t kids go a few hours between meals without mindlessly snacking??
Call me a scrooge, but our pantry is pretty boring. Aside from occasional exceptions (road trips, long flights), we just don’t buy processed snack foods. My kids know that if they want a treat, we have to make it together. The only time this policy becomes a problem is when we’re at the park and they see other kids eating sugary, salty snacks. Of course they want it, so I feel like a dud mom for showing up to the park with nothing more than a basket of toys.
When I was growing up, my mom fed us three meals and a small after-school snack. That’s it. No in-between meal snacking was allowed (with the exception of fresh fruit and veggies, which were always allowed), and so we all eagerly looked forward to whatever homemade meal was on the table for dinner. If we didn’t like dinner, we didn’t get dinner.
In good conscience, I just can’t regularly feed my kids something devoid of nutritional value but full of artificial flavors and colors. And, because we choose to buy organic produce and meats, we don’t have room in our grocery budget for pointless processed snacks.
My good friend Adrienne knows how I feel about this subject, so she recently shared an article from Psychology Today, “Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD“. The study found that 9% of American kids are diagnosed with ADHD, but only .5% of French kids have it. While many reasons contribute to this startling difference, the study suggests that diet has a lot to do with it. As the article states, “In the United States, the strict focus on pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD encourages clinicians to ignore the influence of dietary factors on children’s behavior.” In France, doctors take a more holistic approach to solving the problem as they are well aware that dietary interventions can sometimes help a child’s problem.
Of course nutrition makes a difference! We’ve noticed that Mack can go from sweet to sour after just a few bites of sugary processed food. He literally turns into a different kid. It is not fair to subject his little body to that kind of assault, so we really limit the processed snacks. I hope doctors suggest families change a child’s diet before offering medication to treat a behavior disorder. It’s the right thing to do.
So, I’ll continue limiting the junk foods my kids consume. Hopefully by the time they are old enough to make some of their decisions on food on their own they will know which foods make their beautiful bodies feel good…and which foods make their beautiful bodies feel bad.
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