My child likes to eat sweets and other junk foods, what can I do?

My child really likes junk foods. Should I allow her to eat them?

Junk foods usually refer to processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium and fat, but have little or low nutrients that are required by the body. Because they are appealing in taste and texture; naturally, children like them.

Research indicates that an over restriction of junk food will produce a negative effect on children because when children can make their own choices, they will end up eating more junk foods.

Parents must be cautious in providing snacks and be good models to eat small amount of junk foods. Though planning ahead, limit both the frequency and the amount of junk foods offered, for example, provide two to three times of snacks in a week. Let the children learn the principle of how to have a suitable amount of junk foods.

How can I provide a suitable amount of appropriate snacks?

Parents must not use junk foods as a reward because children can mistakenly associate junk food with good behaviours. Based on the same principle, do not use food to soothe emotions or console a child having tantrums.

Prepare 2 snack times in between mealtimes. Provide nutrient-rich snacks like fruits, bread, sugar free or low sugar tofu pudding, milk and plain yoghurt. Providing healthy snacks will not only supplement their meals, but also minimize the chances of children eating junk foods out of hunger.

What else do I need to pay attention to?

Avoid stocking junk foods at home because this increases the chance and the amount of eating junk foods for both you and your child. If children know junk foods are available, they will strive to get the junk foods, creating a difficult situation for you.