Apr 10, 2018

Say no to junk food #dothedifficult

My daughter D and I had a long argument last night. Just like Maggi is reserved for one Friday a month, D is allowed to have 1 pack of Lays chips one Monday a month. As much as I would love to completely eliminate all such junk from her diet, there are a few junk foods that D loves and keeps demanding them whenever we go out. So I started to moderate them using this “once-a-month” strategy, which seems to work well for us.

So yesterday being a Monday, she got her April share of “green Lays chips” and finished the pack in the evening. She only gets the Rs.10 pack, no buddy pack, share pack, party pack etc etc. 

Around 7:30PM, I was making dinner and she came to the kitchen. “Amma, do you know my friend got cheese slice in her snack box today? Will you pack a cheese slice for me too in tomorrow’s snack box?”
She goes to a summer camp these days and been observing the snacks that other children bring. Her regular school doesn’t allow ANY junk food and I continue the same snack box guidelines for her summer camp school as well.

“I cannot pack junk food in your snack box, baby. We will follow the same rules for all schools”, I calmly replied.
“Summer camp aunties won’t tell anything, Amma”, pat came the reply.
“We aren’t following the rules for school aunties sake, dear. It is for your good health”
“Ok. Then I want to eat a cheese slice right now”, she started to become adamant by then.
“It’s dinner time now, no snacking”, I started to become the strict mom.
“No, I want a cheese slice now”, she insisted.
“You already ate Lays chips today, so I can’t give you another junk food, and that too the one that has more salt”, my mind had already started adding up the sodium levels ;-)
I could sense disappointment in her face but I wasn't willing to give up either.
“See ma, Lays chips has lots of salt. If you eat cheese slice too, then lot of salt will go into your body and it’s not good for your heart”, I tried to explain.

In the end, I won the argument. She ate her dinner properly. I didn’t give her the cheese slice. 

A few days back, I came across this ad by ICICI Lombard on the occasion of #WorldHealthDay with the message “Say no to junk food #DoTheDifficult”. 

Yes, the task is extremely difficult, given that how children can easily be influenced by colourful packaging, attractive toys and catchy ads. Yesterday, D noticed Kinder Joy that had pictures of her favourite characters from the movie Despicable Me. I was glad that she didn’t ask me to buy, ever since we had the talk on why it is "a bad chocolate”.

D and I have many arguments and discussions related to food. Even if I’m not her “favourite” go-to person for junk food and sweet treats, I know I’m doing the right thing for her. 

A 6-year old can easily get influenced by her friends and peers in school. Obviously I cannot control what other moms pack for their kids, but it is my responsibility to help my daughter understand the reason and consequences. 

Parents (and grandparents), let’s #dothedifficult and not succumb to tantrums. Patient conversations, logical explanation (yes, it works too) and/or strict rules - choose whatever works depending on the situation. But let’s not give up easily.

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