It’s too simple an answer.

That’s what one reader said in response to my last post It Doesn’t Matter WHAT Your Kids Eat!

I advocated switching how you think about food. Instead of paying attention to nutrients like calcium and protein I suggested you organize foods according to how frequently they should be eaten:

  • Growing Foods: These are the fresh, natural foods you should eat most frequently.
  • Fun Foods: The moderate foods – packaged, sweetened and/or high in fat – that you should eat less frequently.
  • Treat Foods: The junk that you should eat least frequently.

“What about not serving your kids processed foods, or finding alternatives without all the additives?” this reader asked.

1) In our culture you can’t avoid processed foods. And even if you can in your own home, your children will eventually encounter them out in the world. When they do, don’t you want them to be prepared?

The research shows that denying your kids access to food leads to hording and overeating. It may be healthier to eliminate processed foods from your kids’ diets, but it’s not better for them. They need to know how to put moderate and junky foods into their diets in an appropriate way. It is a vital skill for living in today’s food world.

2) “Healthy” junk foods – treats without the additives – still teach your children to eat junk food. They don’t care how something’s made. That’s why a cookie is always a cookie!

“So instead of replacing real junk with a healthy equivalent, which just perpetuates poor eating habits, you would advocate portioning?”

Yes, but not just portioning the size of the food in any one sitting. I’m advocating paying attention to how different types of food fit into your children’s overall diets. No one food matters.  What’s important is hin relation to each other. That’s the beauty of proportion – it promotes a diverse diet where foods are eaten in the correct ratios.

Is it too simple?  No.  But is it simple? Yes. That’s why it works. There are no menus to memorize, no portions to measure. Just a plan for making decisions about how often to eat something.

Remember, every time you feed your children you teach them something. The only question that remains is this: what are you going to teach them?

Thanks for the question.  Keep them coming!