Are treat foods part of how you parent?

What’s it like, trying to provide your children with healthy food? How do treat foods, such as crisps, sweets, biscuits, chocolate and sugary drinks feature in your home?

These are some of the questions we asked groups of parents from all over the island of Ireland recently. They had lots to say…

Parents said they find rearing children harder and harder. They want to do their best, they are aware of health risks like obesity, but there are a whole variety of barriers facing them when it comes to healthy eating, and limiting treats in particular:

  • Unhealthy foods are so cheap, it makes it really difficult to say no. On the flip side, healthy food is more expensive and time consuming
  • Parents are confused about what is healthy today because there are so many conflicting messages. "What is a healthy snack?"
  • Every parent can relate to being extremely busy and struggling to keep up energy levels. This impacts on our will power to say no.
  • Some parents have complicated family and childcare situations and don’t have total control over how many treats their children have.

quote - you don't have time to think about itqoute - every time you put on the TV - drinks, yoghurtsquote - you get these chippies for €12

National surveys show that on average about a 5th of the calories a child eats comes from treat foods.The parents we spoke to knew they were giving too many treats.

Some parents said they give treats to bribe their children to behave, others just wanted their children to enjoy themselves.

quote - I would bribe themquote - children today are just ruinedquote - if you are good I'll take you to Marks and Spencerquote - we are spoiling our childrenquote - everyday is treat day

For a lot parents, giving treats has simply become an everyday habit. "Sure, a few sweets won’t do them any harm" 

quote - you have to have crisps for lunchquote - they get a biscuit or a penguinquote - every day she gets somethingquote - it is everyday treats in my house

The thing is, it’s not a few treats. For many, it’s a few treats every day. And that will increase their risk of becoming overweight and going on to develop diseases such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

the most kids should be eating in a week

Being tired and stressed, and under pressure, it’s easy to form bad habits over time. It’s no wonder we to give in. But, if you are a parent, maybe it’s time to stop and think about what’s happening in your own home. Ask yourself a few questions:

Did some of these quotes ring a bell? How many treats are your children eating daily? Is it time to break bad habits?

For the next month we are focusing on helping parents to #BreakBadHabits.

Check our website for tips, tools and ideas, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for info at your fingertips.

We are right behind you.


Posted: 21/04/2016 15:12:40 by Aileen McGloin

About Me

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Aileen McGloin
Hi, my name is Aileen McGloin and I am the Director of Marketing and Communications, at safefood. I trained as a public health nutritionist originally and am passionate about changing food-related behaviour. I have a particular interest in using digital technology to promote health. At home, I love books, am in a book club and married to a crime writer. I’m a fiend for all things fashion and like walking, swimming and TV that is so bad it’s good. I live in Co. Wicklow with my husband and 10 year old daughter.