Good Moms Let Their Kids Eat Junk Food

junk foodIt's Wednesday and, lo and behold, there's another news story that makes me doubt how I am doing on the parent-o-meter. The latest? A new study from the UK says a poor diet -- one loaded with processed foods and junk food (read: crap) -- lowers our kids' IQ.

I thought about what I feed my kid (she's almost 4). I know I don't do great in terms of food. I work outside the home, as does my husband. I (usually) make it home in time to feed her dinner and do the bedtime rituals and all. I thought I was doing okay because I was home at night, spending quality time with her, increasing her EQ.

Do I have enough time to cook something chock-full of vitamins? No ... and my husband would add I am not the greatest cook anyway. However, I make sure the frozen chicken nuggets were organic, made sure her pasta was DHA-fortified, and gave her blueberries for dessert.

But I also give her McDonald's French fries. Like once a week. Crap.


So, here I am, feeling like a horrible mom, but I kept reading about the study. I agree with the theme of the study -- feed your kids good stuff. Give Junior veggies and fruit. Try to serve up a variety of nutritious meals, whole grains, low sodium, so on and so forth. Common sense to me: stuffing your kid with Doritos at breakfast, KFC for lunch, and Taco Bell for dinner doesn't ring "brain" food to me either.

And then I got mad ... because if you read the fine print, the poor diet actually only lowers the IQ by a few points. Here I was totally doubting my abilities as a mom, thinking my frozen dinners dropped her IQ by 10 or 20. No, a few IQ points. And maybe not at all.

Studies like these have the best intentions, but as they are presented -- in sound-bites and a 200-word synopsis -- all they really do is create a culture where moms are constantly re-evaluating how they parent, perpetuating the mommy-guilt feeling that nothing we do is good enough ... which, for our kids, is just as harmful as giving them a Happy Meal once in a while.

I read food labels and buy the best option I can. I give her grapes and berries and broccoli, but I also give her whipped cream and Teddy Grahams. I try my best. I read to her daily. I play with her. I always smile when she walks into the room. I give her unlimited hugs. Isn't that good enough?

Why can't someone do a study on that?


Image via meddygarnet/Flickr

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