I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately for Healthy Pop-Tarts.

Yes, it sounds like an oxymoron, but there are a bunch of recipes circulating on the internet for healthy Pop-Tarts. And people are getting excited. Very excited.

I don’t want to be a killjoy—so please don’t blast me— but I’ve got to say that when I hear about “healthified” junk food, I get nervous. Very nervous.

My primary concern is that healthified foods seem like they can be eaten more frequently than junk.

But no matter how “healthy” you make your treats, they should still be eaten only occasionally. After all, proportion is one of the primary principles of healthy eating. And pastries will never be peas. (Nor, I would add, should they be.)

If you want your kids’ junk to be healthier, I say, “go for it.” But if your kids like junky junk, I say go for that instead. Remember: It doesn’t matter WHAT your kids eat! What matters is how often they eat it.

And, before you start yelling at me about how bad Pop Tarts are, did you know that one Frosted Blueberry PT has less sugar than you’d find in your typical juice box? Read Training Tiny Taste Buds.

Are healthy Pop Tarts really healthy? Or do they just pass the standard of healthy that we set for junk?

This is the argument I made when I discussed The Potato Chip Challenge: A snack—such as Goldfish Crackers or pretzels— is deemed healthy if it’s better than a potato chip. That’s a pretty low standard!

Should we label a snack “healthy” because it doesn’t contain anything bad? Even if it doesn’t provide nutrients that are actually good? Read “Do No Harm” Snacking.

And, the practice of allowing frequent sweets and treats because they have desirable nutrients is Dealin’ with the Devil.

And finally, it seems like our desire to “healthify” junk comes out of guilt.

Guilt, both on a national level, and on a personal level.

What do we feel guilty about?

  1. We feel guilty that our kids don’t eat enough healthy food to get the nutrients they need.
  2. We feel guilty that our kids eat too many cookies —and other sweets and treats.

Otherwise, there’d be room in their diets for authentic junk. Read Cookies and The Cycle of Guilty Eating.

You don’t need to “fear” junk.

You just have to “use” it right.

That was my message over Halloween. And it’s my message here. Read Preschool and Pop Tarts.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

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