Where Do You Draw the Line on What Your Kid Eats?

13 months.

I am my kid’s own soup Nazi.

In South Korea, people really do eat dogs. If you need a visual, check out my personal Facebook page and look in my photo album called “Uncensored Korean Files” to see a dog deli I photographed while I was teaching there.

Here in America we eat pigs, which are just as cuddly as dogs and arguably more intelligent, but we’re okay with that because for whatever cultural reasons, we Americans know that it’s somehow uncivilized and morally wrong to kill and eat a dog, but not a pig.

Similarly, we as individual family units live by our own quirky food limitations. A few weeks ago on Facebook, I posted this as my status for my 871 friends to respond:

“Alright parents, I have a very personal question to ask you for something I’m writing for Parents.com. Where do you cross the line on what you will and will not allow your kid to eat? For example, how much fast food is too much? Any particular foods you just don’t want them eating? What about when you’re not around, like if your kid is at a friend’s sleep-over?”

Out of the 24 comments I received in a 24 hour period, the overall consensus was “everything in moderation.” However, the variable I noticed in their comments is what we all consider to be normal in our everyday eating habits. And that’s sort of the whole point of what I was asking.

For example, for some, it was no fast food. For others, it was no meat that isn’t organic. Or no caffeine or no sodas. And then there’s me, the hard-core vegetarian of the group who didn’t bother to mention the long list of things I won’t allow my own kid to eat.

We all know that cancer, Diabetes, and obesity rates are radically higher than they were a 150 years ago before we as humans we introduced to highly processed foods and began eating them in the majority of our meals. So now we as parents want to protect our kids by making deliberate dietary decisions for them.

So here’s what I say: Let us all be weird in our own weird ways when it comes to what “unhealthy” foods we won’t allow our kids to eat.

I’m past the point of worrying that I might hurt someone’s feelings when they try to feed my son something that isn’t on “Dad’s list” of approved foods.

Maybe I err a bit on the radical side, but so what? My kid’s not going to starve nor be malnourished if I have a say in it. He just may be a bit deprived as an American kid who doesn’t get to experience the joy of chicken nuggets like all the normal kids. He’ll be okay.

It’s not that we all as parents are necessarily judging each other for what the other does or does not let their kid eat. Well heck, if I’m judging anyone for that reason, it would be me. I’m more than willing to label myself as the wacko dad here.

But hey, we all draw the line somewhere when it comes to what we won’t let our kid eat.

What about you? Where do you draw the line?

Top image: Kid with snack, via Shutterstock. Bottom image: Two kids and chips snack, via Shutterstock.

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