How to Avoid Junk Food for Children?

Junk food!!! Trying to reach us from everywhere!!! Right? Go out, burgers, chips, fried stuff is chasing us from every counter. Sit in front of television, the advertisements are trying to attract us. Same is the case with children. They see only those food items which they like, e.g. chocolates, cookies, chips, etc. Not sure how much true, but bad attracts us the most. Even if we try to avoid, it reaches us from one or other corner of this world, and we end up sharing it with our children. Later, they start asking for more and more of it. Again thanks to the manufacturers of these food items, who make it uniquely tasty. What are consequences – obesity, teeth problems, laziness and so on. How do we handle it? Should we absolutely stop giving any of these items to our children? Sounds cent percent non-practical. Then what is solution to avoid junk food?

Can we strike a balance? Can we limit the amount of such food we give? Can we create healthier versions of such food items at home? Any thoughts or experiences on this front?

What is definition of junk food? We can have argument for hours on this. Everybody will come up with own definition. But just for sake of arriving at conclusion, we can say any food item that provides lesser nutrients than the harm it creates on consumption can be called as junk food. Something that is available at any corner shop. Mostly these food items are tastier than normal food. Hence we or children tend to eat more and more. We get very less nutrients from those but they start harming our body slowly. Hence such food is more harmful if consumed in excess or for longer duration.

Burgers, everything that you get in most of the Indian “Chat” corners, potato chips and similar fried stuff, etc. come under this junk food category. If these are consumed once a while in week or fortnight, there will not be any harm. But if someone starts eating every day or  alternate day, there will be consequences.

How to avoid this stuff? When children see those, they want to have.  Here are few tips to either avoid, or reduce impact.

  1. Buy it from a quality place only. E.g. if the oil used for preparation of fried stuff is recycled many times, it can be harmful. Hygiene is another issue in many shops. Few harmful effects can be removed at least.
  2. Limit the quantity. If children consume one chips packet at a time of certain size, make it one fourth and consume it in a week.
  3. Make a habit of having equivalent or more fruits and salad with such items can reduce the harmful effects. Just compensate.
  4. Prepare such items at home, we can control quality many folds and make it healthier using different ingredients.
  5. Find out alternative non junk food items with similar taste.
  6. Replace chips and other fried items which kids eat while watching TV, with fruits, dry fruits (in limited quantity).
  7. Make children aware of harmful effects of such food items by showing examples, videos, pictures etc.
  8. Avoid situations that lead to eating of junk food, e.g. visit to certain places, watching TV for very longer durations.
  9. Have a healthy food corner very close to the place sitting where children consume junk food.
  10. Don’t stop continue this habit.

I am sure slowly we can control the habit as well as effect.

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