Is Your Toddler Loading Up on Junk Food?

Since 2002, Nestlé — the world’s largest food company and not-so-coincidental manufacturer of Gerber products — has led studies in infant-feeding practices. The goal of this research? To find out if we’re feeding our infants, babies, and toddlers the stuff they need to grow and develop into healthy kids.

Well, the latest results are in, and although things are looking up for infants (“33% of mothers are breastfeeding nine- to 11-month-old children compared to 21% in 2002”), it appears that many of our toddlers are still eating junk food a little too often. The Atlantic listed these surprising statistics:

  • One-third of toddlers and 50% of preschoolers eat fast food at least once a week.
  • One-quarter of families eat dinner together four or fewer nights each week.
  • 25% of older infants, toddlers, and preschoolers do not eat even one serving of fruit on a given day, and 30% do not eat a single serving of vegetables.
  • French fries are still the most popular vegetable among toddlers and preschoolers.

We want to know – what do you think about these findings? Are you okay with feeding your kids junk, or do you always put the food pyramid first? Share your thoughts and advice for healthy eating in the comments!

See more coverage of kids’ nutrition at Parents.com:

toddlers are still eating junk food (keep hotlink) a little too often.  The Atlantic (hotlink) listed these surprising statistics
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  1. by briendy robinson

    On October 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    As a parent of 4 children ages 2 to 8, i think the best you cand do is try. Try to encourage healthy eating, and do your best to be a good role model.

  2. by Sarah

    On October 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I really wish I were having an easier time feeding my kids healthy foods. I’m trying a lot of tricks right now, like shakers of cheese and ketchup on everything!

  3. by Jennifer

    On October 26, 2010 at 7:54 am

    We have vowed to not have junk food in the house. This way it is not tempting and easy to access. We will have the occasional treat but we do not make it a daily occurrence.

  4. by Martine

    On October 26, 2010 at 8:05 am

    French fries are NOT vegetables.

  5. by Christina Shape

    On October 26, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I feel that children have a whole lifetime to eat unhealthy choices if they so choose, however, in the beginning, give them a good start with just healthy choices, and I believe that if they start out with a good diet early, this will lead to a good path and maybe they won’t want unhealthy food!!!

  6. by Kymberlee

    On October 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    If your child isn’t a fan of vegetables then you should read Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. The book gives you great tips on how to hide vegetables in foods that your child does like to eat. For example if your child only eats mac’ and cheese, you can add squash or cauliflower puree in the cheese sauce and it is virtually undetectable. Voila your child has magically eaten a serving of veggies!

  7. by Rebekah

    On October 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I am a Mom of a 3 year old and I run a small daycare in my home. I have learned that if you keep giving kids vegatable and new foods that they do get curious and try them. And a lot of it they end up liking. I usually try to make one new or different food everyday at lunch. Everyone gets some on their plate and I try to urge them to try a bite before they get seconds of what they like. If they try it, even if they don’t like it and won’t eat more, I praise them. If they refuse to try I tell them ok but they can’t have seconds for a few more minutes. Sometimes they end up trying it when I’m not looking or if they get tired of waiting LoL. Also, at dinnertime with my son, we all eat together at the table because that’s very important to me. If he chooses not to eat what I make, he doesn’t get something else. He knows if he wants dessert or a snack later he needs to eat something for dinner. These kinds of things get the kids used to new foods and if you keep healthy foods on hand and in their reach they actually want it!!

  8. by Jo Ann

    On October 26, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I think being a good example is essential. And, if the adults in the home eat sweets, then we will do so in moderation and share a little bite with the toddler. We don’t fight over food, but try many ways to serve fruits and veggies. Fruits come in the form of smoothies made with yogurt. Veggies come in fried rice or pasta sauce.

  9. by Lily

    On October 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Feeding time can be a challenge with toddlers, I give my 3 yr options…if she doesnt want the dinner that I have prepared (usually healthy, nothing fried, and always a vegetable) her “other” options will be a mixed plate…diced carrots, raisons, cheese cubes, string beans, and olives…she feels that she is making the decision of what to eat, but they are all good choices…better than junk food/snacks.

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