Food Fight!

Dear Mamas,

My question is about the food that my daughter eats at her friend’s house. I like the family a lot and the girls are practically joined at the hip. But when she goes over there they pig out on chips and soda, etc. I hate her eating all that junk. Her mom has different standards about food than I do. Should I say something? My daughter is 11-years-old and eats well at home.



Hi Lucci,

Great question. It’s always tough to figure out how involved to get in your child’s outside life and where to draw the line about what is and is not allowed. In a perfect world we would be in control of everything that happens to our kids but that wouldn’t really be healthy. They need to learn how to choose and to choose wisely. And anyway, it’s not an option, is it?

So we learn to pick our battles. This is not one that I would make a big deal about. It’s great that she has a good friend who comes from a family that you like. No family is going to be exactly like yours — each one is different and will have their share of plusses and minusses. That’s just life. When you think about all the things that could be going on over there (chat rooms, no parents around, boys, drugs etc.) a few chips and soda is not really a big deal.

The fact that she “eats well at home” says a lot about the job you are doing to help her establish healthy eating habits and that’s the big thing. It’s the day-to-day choices that really add up in the long run.And if you were to make soda and chips “forbidden” they may develop an allure that is just too hard for her to resist. A more balanced approach would be to keep your pantry clear of them most of the time but to allow them on occasion.

What you can do though is to make sure that when the girls are at your house you offer them healthier snacks. And if you’re up for it, you can even take some time to teach them how to cook or prepare snacks that are yummy and nutritious. Kids love to eat things that they make themselves and they may end up preferring the good stuff.

Boboli pizzas are easy to make, pre-teens love them and they can be very nutritious. Use the whole wheat crusts, add their tomato sauce and some shredded cheese and you’re done. Throw some fresh fruit, non-fat milk and non-fat yogurt into the blender and you’ve got a smoothie to go along with it. Let the girls do the work and you may end up with a couple of budding chefs on your hands. Nothing wrong with that!

For more healthy snack ideas that kids can make, click here.

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Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.

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