T Nation

Nutrition for My Kids

I’m a father of twin boys who are almost four years old. I’m a competitive bodybuilder, and take my diet and training seriously. However, when it comes to other people, I try not to judge nor become too stringent with our kids.

Last night my wife mentioned that our neighbors kids are “growing like weeds” and implied that since we don’t feed our twins juice or lots of junk food, that our kids might not be growing as fast as they should. I became defensive, which I later apologized for.

I bring my kids to Burger King, feed them chicken nuggets and I am fairly loose on their diets. I believe their kids and they “micro managing” their diet will only cause them to backlash. So you’re probably thinking, what’s the deal then? I do emphasize healthy snacks for them, including avoid high frutose sugary snacks, limiting candy and the like. She may feel that this is too much. She also mentioned that she feels our twins might not be eating as much as they should, since the snacks are more on the healthy side. I said our twins eat well, when they are hungry! Genetics also play a role on how big they are.

My answer to her last night was what are the neighbors kids eating? She mentioned they were eating soup with Ramon noodles (which we eat at home). This is no different than us.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially from those parents out there.

Sounds like you’re doing fine (I’m no parent though).

Like you said, you don’t go overboard, but you seem to keep a logical approach.

I wouldn’t compare your kids to your neighbor’s kids, that’s not really a fair comparison.

keep it healthy but metabolisms are fast for a reason…:stuck_out_tongue:

If they start to get on the chubby side you could always whip em back into shape hehe… kids also develop a liking for certain foods when they’re young…ive heard alot about commercial baby foods being made to taste good to adults (lots of sugar) so they will buy it when babies dont care. so dont give em crap because ur wife likes it

There is no junk in our house. The kids will get used to it, and I think it’s worth the effort.

Maybe it’s a good thing they aren’t always starving. If they basically get 3 meals a day and some snacks, and they are full, well isnt that the point? Maybe you could give them more juice instead of candy if your wife is worried they arent getting enough calories. I’m not a parent, but what you propose seems very reasonable to me.

No offense, but maybe your wife shouldn’t be comparing your kids to others. Kids develope at different rates. And I dont think there is anything wrong with that…

^ agree

kids have growth spurts at different times…ramen noodles though delicious wont make them grow faster :slight_smile:

Hypothetically, if and when I had children, would not allowing them to eat at McDonald’s make me a bad father?

[quote]analog_kid wrote:
Hypothetically, if and when I had children, would not allowing them to eat at McDonald’s make me a bad father?[/quote]

I wouldn’t cut it out 100%
Kids are kids and should have fun. If you let them have a treat once and a while then they’ll take what McDicks is, a treat. My parents would let me have mcDicks like once or twice a month and even before I started strict nutrition on my own I never really had a desire to go all the time.

Don’t know how old your kids are but…

Most babies instinctively know when they are hungry and how much they need. Don’t wean them out of this, leave (healthy) food somewhere they can get it if they are hungry. Just my 2 cents.

I grew up with no pop and no processed foods. Everything we ate was fresh. If you raise them to eat this way, they won’t know any different, and it won’t matter if they don’t get their junkfood fix. Plus, once you start cooking fresh food and become good at cooking, boxed stuff just seems bland.

Personally, I think you’ve got to find a balance. All kids are different, even kids within the same family are different. I think you’ve got to teach them what healthy eating is, but don’t be anal about it.

When it’s up to them they don’t always choose the best option, but all my kids can tell you what’s the healthier option. Even my six year old knows we get protein from meat, and oatmeal is a better option than breakfast cereal.

I have 5 sons, some have chosen a very strict healthy eating style, while others, not so much. They all seem to grow at about the same rate, regardless of their nutrition choices. However, my 18 year old has tried to eat very healthy since he was about 12, he definitely has more muscle, is more athletic, so there is something to it.

If you force it, I agree, they will probably hate it, and reject it when they are old enough. Don’t make too much out of it, just teach them along the way, telling them why this is good and that is probably not so good. Even soda, as bad as that is, one every once in a while isn’t gonna kill 'em, but let them know, not very good to put into your body very often.

I guess, bottom line, in my opinion is that you’ve got to find a balance. I’ve never seen an overbearing, overly strict way of parenting turn out positive.

i was raised by some hard core fitness parents. They are in their late 60s and they both work out 2 hours a day just as they have my entire life. You can still see my dad’s abs. we had no junk food in our house at all and they generally taught me good nutritional principles.

However, I am not raising my own child this way. Why? I have zero self control in this area, and i think that a large portion of this is due to the fact that my parents never gave me the opportunity to excercize control over my diet. I literally had no choice but to eat healthy and i firmly believe that this was a mistake. All of my siblings are overweight and in the obese category (ie 30% bf or higher).

my daughter has free reign on what she can and cant eat. when given the choice she tends to eat very responsibly. My daughter, left to her own, will naturally eat about 1.5 gms of protein per pound. She also excersizes good control over candy and is completely self regulating. For example, she actually stops eating mini m&m’s after about 3-5 pieces when left with the entire bag. She is three years old. We praise her when she makes good choices, and ignore her when she makes poor choices. I think one of the most important things is that we dont use food as a reward.

I see this a lot, they go pee on the tiolet and get some candy etc. This re-enforces the idea of cheat meal. Now is my kid a complete freak? Maybe, but she atleast appears to be on the right track for now.

Just for comparison, she eats about 1300-1500 calories a day, she is in the 98% for height, and the 36% for weight.