Junk Food Worries

Posted on the TCS List on Wed, 15 Jun 2005 11:22:22 -0700

On Jun 15, 2005, at 11:17 AM, a poster wrote:

In the wake of TV programmes like Jamie's School Dinners and the almost daily “children are obese and will all die before they're 40” media scares, I'm finding that opposition to my children eating what they want to eat when they want to eat is stronger and more vocal than ever. I'd become accustomed to knit-your-own-muesli home educators tutting as we headed off to McDonalds, but the looks from random strangers in the local supermarket are starting to become annoying. Now, I'm no fan of the infamous Turkey Twizzler (taste disgusting) and I've been pleased to read a few articles mentioning how ridiculous the whole nutrition scare thing is (see this, for example). And I'm not really wavering about how we feed ourselves as a > family but...

... hey, I could just do with a little TCS input on this, just to knock those re-emerging “eat your greens” memes out of my head :-)

Muesli actually tastes good – it has lots of raisins. Unfortunately, the flakes part tastes worse than normal cornflakes, presumably in the name of health.

There are yummy, green foods, like pesto, mint icecream, and umm split pea soup, imo. Oh, oh! And avocado/guacamole.

Anyway, eating is an important parts of our lives. We need to enjoy it, and prevent it from feeling boring/repetitive/a-chore/etc. This is a creative process, and severely limiting what you can eat makes this process much harder to get right. That makes for unhappier people with worse lives (which has been shown to cause cancer, headache, AIDS, and death). Stop listening to the special interest vegetable farmer groups, and start looking at the human cost of putting people's feelings second.




Some help

for fun food that's 'green' see http://www.slowfood.com

where extravagant taste and uber eco sensibilities merge...or sth

fyi, there's an article in new left review 1985 by laclau and mouffe on 'the hegemony of form' - it's of interest to TCS types, I'd say

the muesli issue is amusing...

Muesli tastes so much better than cornflakes! Except that I have to do a careful search in the grocery store to find muesli that doesn't have too many raisins in it...

Conclusion: Don't make too many assumptions about what kids like - "unhealthy" processed foods don't necessarily taste better, unless we or the whole culture convince the kids they do.

taking food seriuosly

This article must be a joke. Let me play along.

It is weird that my kids think oatmeal and fresh fruit is a tasty breakfast. I bet I have not exposed them to enough varieties of junk food. I need to encourage them to sample more junk, and choose the tastiest breakfast. I will inform them not to take nutrition into consideration when they choose food. I'll tell them, "Don't listen to all those 'health scares.' Just make yourself happy."

In the unlikely event my children begin to suffer from high blood pressure, obesity, diabeties, or any of the other diseases associated with junk food, I won't feel guilty. I don't believe in coecercing them to eat healthily, and everybody knows kids won't eat healthy food unless they are forced to. I am not convinced that nutrition is really linked to disease. It is probably just a government conspiracy.

I am going to eat a lot more junk food now. Healthy food tastes bad and makes me unhappy. Unhappiness causes cancer, AIDS and death, therefore healthy food is harming my health. Junk food tastes good and will make me happy. I need junk food to SAVE my health.

Eating healthily

Part of our role as parents is to show the world to our children. I have not yet shown chocolate (or many other less healthy foods) to my 10 month old.

In the same way as people who are veggie from birth almost exclusively remain vegetarian for the rest of their lives, instilling good eating habits early, by simply offering only good food, can result in a child only wanting good food.

When a child is spending hir days munching on fruit, mom can love it because it increases hir fruit intake too.


Most of us are too full of

Most of us are too full of ourselves to take into consideration our children's opinions. Right ?

It can be difficult to know

It can be difficult to know when you're not taking your child's opinion, or whether you're simply doing what you know is best for them. This revolves around the issue of consent for me; children don't have the right to vote as they are deemed not intellectually developed enough to make an informed choice. Can we not, therefore, infer the same logic with parenting?

Should they therefore not get

Should they therefore not get ot make any decisions till they are 18?

A lot of our junk food

A lot of our junk food worries are unfounded, if the parents themselves adhere to healthy eating habits. As the saying, the fruit is not far from the tree, so is how the children's eating habits are not different from their parents.


That is such a black and white statement. Up until they are 18, it is our jobs as parents to TEACH them HOW to make good decisions. At the age of 4, we can let them choose which pair of socks they'd like to wear for the day, or which plate they'd like to eat from. Those are easy decisions that can not harm them, regardless of the decision they make. However, children are not born knowing that, while it might be fun playing in the fireplace, there is a danger to it. So NO...there are many many decisions that regardless of their age, they CAN NOT make.