Let’s Talk: Should You Allow Your Kids to Eat Junk at Birthday Parties?

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Here’s the scenario: Your young son or daughter has been invited to a friend’s birthday party. You know this family to some degree and are aware that their eating standards aren’t the same as your family’s.

The party will likely include white-sugar and food-dye cake, chips, pop and candy in the goodie bag, all foods which are standard no-no’s in your own home.

What do you do in this situation?

  1. Remember that birthday parties like this happen only occasionally, you eat well at home 90% of the time, and allow your child to eat freely at the party.
  2. Try to fill your child up on good, whole foods at home, prior to taking them. Remind them on the drive that the foods that will be served aren’t ones that will keep their body healthy, and that while it is ok to accept a piece of cake when offered, they should try to avoid other junk foods if possible, and look for better options (fruit or veggies, crackers and cheese, etc.). (And if you’re with them at the party, this becomes easier to enforce).
  3. Stay at the party with your child and bring along your own snacks. Inform the hosts prior to your coming that your child won’t be partaking of the food offerings, and that you will be bringing them food from home instead. Tell your child that the foods at the party are yucky, and feel free to get into a discussion with the other parents at the party about why your child won’t be eating along with everyone else.

Last week I was reading a book I picked up on sale while on summer vacation, but haven’t gotten around to reading yet. It’s called The Great Physician’s Rx for Children’s Health by Jordan Rubin. I have previously read and enjoyed The Maker’s Diet (it was quite influential for me in my real food journey, actually). I knew that he would have solid information and suggestions, geared towards children’s health in particular.

I was surprised to be so immediately turned off within the first chapters of the book, however, by the “holier than thou” attitude that I perceived in Dr. Rubin’s and his wife’s approach to shielding their young son from the dangers of processed foods. When their 3 year old son was invited to a birthday party, they came prepared with all of their own snacks from home.

He even proudly states at one point that their son has never eaten anything in his entire life that they do not consider to be “real food” (nothing processed or refined, no pasteurized or homogenized dairy products, no commercially raised grain-fed meat, no white sugar or table salt).

I’m not quite sure what world they live in, where they are able to have such complete and utter control over every single thing that ever enters his mouth- has he never been to a relative’s home with different eating habits or to another family’s home for dinner? Have they never been on the road or on vacation and needed to simply eat the best they could with the restaurants and choices that were available?

But I digress… back to the birthday party.

I know this is a hard area to deal with. I don’t like allowing my children to eat processed, refined, toxic foods in the slightest. It makes me cringe, and as their mom, it’s my job and responsibility to steward their health and train them in their eating habits.

Yet, as I’ve said many times before, people matter more than food.

Personally, I would opt for something along the lines of option #2 in the birthday party scenario, sending them with a full tummy and some words of wisdom, yet allowing them to graciously accept something celebratory like a piece of cake to enjoy with their friends. When I accompany them to parties, I encourage them towards the better options that are available, and allow them very limited amounts of the not-so-great options. But that’s just me.

(And I’ll even confess that although I’m usually the mom that makes the “weird” homemade spelt carrot cake with cream cheese icing colored pink with raspberry juice, this year I came down with an awful flu and was completely debilitated the day before my daughter’s 7th birthday. We bought a store cake, for the first time ever. Sometimes, life happens, and my husband and I both felt that it was a priority for our daughter’s party to continue as planned, whether mama was up for baking healthy cakes or not.)

I’m curious (and yes, I know this might spark a heated debate, so let’s just use our big-girl words and keep it polite)…

What would you (or do you) do in this kind of scenario? How do you balance celebrations with others, while still guarding your child’s health and nutrition?

Image by andy_carter

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Life is about balance. And in my home, that’s what I strive for. Extremes in anything can be harmful. That said…I find myself wedged between 1 and 2. I want my children to be fully aware of the decisions that they make, so we do talk often about our diet and why we eat the way we do. However, when it comes to visiting others and birthday parties we tend to just let it go. Obviously I’d love for them to choose the fresh foods (if there are any), but it’s not the end of the world if they have a piece of candy and cake a few times a year:)

    • Yes, me exactly. Aside from this being just the kinder option, I think it’s also just a good learning experience for kids. There will be food temptations all their life – and we won’t always be there. So, instead of drilling an all-or-nothing approach into them, I think it’s better to encourage them to eat as healthy as possible and then enjoy themselves a bit.

  2. I opt between scenario’s one and two. We just had a birthday party last Friday that both of my kids went to (and I was with them). Since my kids are young (4.5 and 2.5) I fix their plates for them, so I get to decide what to feed them. And I would usually let them have a small piece of cake (or they can share a piece) but we had to leave before they got to the cake, so that was not even an issue this time around. But I totally agree with you, relationships with folks are more important than a few snacks or a meal at a party. We do eat healthy, but I still fall back on the “natural” boxed and packaged foods for snacks. Trying to work on that with my picky eaters. :(

  3. I think the more you make a big deal out of “no you shouldn’t eat that” or “no you can’t have that” the bigger problems the kid will have down the road. Kids will always want what their friends are having and will want it even more if they aren’t “allowed” to eat it. I think it’s just their nature. I remember several kids at school who weren’t allowed to eat junk food, but would drink/eat several sodas, chips and candy from the vending machines at school. My mom didn’t have those sorts of rules, so junk food didn’t mean as much to me as they did to the other kids. I was appalled at how much junk those kids could eat in one sitting!

    I think it’s entirely possible to eat awesome at home and not allow junk food in your home without making a big deal about it. My hope is that my kids will discover (on their own) that the stuff Mom makes at home tastes way much better than the “stuff” can pass for food these days.

  4. I don’t restrict my daughter in social situations for a few reasons. For one, I don’t want to fight with her about it. We are both there to enjoy the company and celebration. And two, I don’t want her to feel deprived or left out. I don’t think that it’s fair to not let her have a piece of cake or candy while she watches everyone else have one. As my children grow older, I will not be able to be with them every time they eat. I’m afraid that if I deprive them too much, they will take every chance that they are away from me to binge on things I won’t let them have, setting them up for unhealthy eating habits as adults. A party is a special occasion and the treats that go with them should be viewed as such.
    I do really like the tip about filling them up on healthy foods before hand. I am going to try this from now on before parties and even before they go to their friends houses, who do not eat the same as we do.

  5. With my son’ allergies we are going through the GAPS diet. It is difficult, especially for family and friend’s to understand. It is not forever and Lord willing one day my son can have a piece of cake once in a while and not have any bad reactions. He is 4 and sometimes just skipping parties is easier. I know that sounds horrible, but it is easier than having to explain or bring other food, and have him crying and whining the whole time. We still want to hang out with friends but just not have it revolve around food. We are in the intro phase, so it is way intense for about 4 weeks. It will be easier on full GAPS and ultimately that restored gut! Now if it were just my 2 year old, I lean toward #1 because it is just 1 day and not the norm….

  6. I am trying very, very hard to incorporate more whole foods in our diet. I admit that neither my husband nor I grew up with the greatest eating habits and we want to instill better nutrition in our child. However, there are days (too many activities, late night at work for my husband, illness) that we succumb to picking up something out or eating something frozen. And just by admitting that, I feel a little panicky because honestly, I am trying very hard, but all of this is self taught and is very much a process and we’re not there yet. I’m trying. So I think my answer to the question would be #1 or #2 because we need to give grace to people who don’t eat or think the way we do. I know I would be offended/hurt if my party guests came with their own food and refused to eat what I’d laid out. It’s almost like saying that what I offer isn’t good enough for them. My parents don’t eat the way we do, but when I visit them, we eat what’s served. I can gently encourage them but it’s not my job to tell them how to run their homes.

    • I just want to encourage you to stay the course. We are 3 years into traditional, whole foods eating for our family. However, there are still days that we eat take out as well (too many some months). Like others have said, we try to follow an 80/20 way of eating. If it’s great 80% of the time, it shouldn’t hurt too much if the other 20% isn’t so great. Don’t beat yourself up (or feel panicky)! :) I used to feel that way too, but it’s not worth it. No one is perfect, least of all me, so why put myself through that? I figure we eat 100 times better than most people, so there’s that…

  7. I agree with preferring people over food choices. I have a friend who traveled to Japan once but didn’t want to eat white rice. I can only imagine how potentially offensive and challenging this decision was.

  8. I think it depends on the circumstances. We are more of a #2 type of family but my good friend is very sensitive to foods. She had debilitating r.a. and was able to cure it with dietary changes but needed to be extremely careful with what she ate so she always brought along her own food. We all wanted her to be healthy so we were glad that she felt comfortable doing so. She is now, understandable, very careful with what she exposes her children to but tries to do it in a host friendly manner. If she knows that all the kids will be having oreos, she will try and find a similar type product (but organic, no dyes, etc) to give to her son so that neither he, nor the situation, stands out. And her attitude is always focus on what works for her family, and not on what the other person is doing, and is very loving about it so I don’t think anyone considers her rude or proud. Since my little one is only 20 months we are just hitting this area but I consider her my role model.

  9. I must admit that, in theory, I would definitely choose #3. However, I strongly believe that relationships are more important than food choices, so, in practice, I would choose #2.

    We don’t have to deal with birthday parties yet, but have had to deal with being the weird family in regards to food choices for my son in other areas of life. The mom’s group I am a part of gives “puffs” to babies 6-12 months old for snack time in the nursery. Call me crazy, but my baby was not even eating solids by 6 months! Now that he is 9 months old and eating solids, I have had to put a BIG sticker on his shirt to remind the nursery workers not to give my son “puffs”. Oy.

    We also struggle with this with our families. My parents eat a SAD diet and it truly does make me sad! They are open to eating better, but just lack the discipline to change their ways. With them, I try to offer to make dinner and have them over to our place or, if we are going to their place, I will offer to give my mom some of my real food ingredients to incorporate into her meal. My in-laws also eat a SAD diet and they make me out to be the bad guy. We try to eat what they serve when we are at their house because they make a HUGE fuss if we skip over things, but we always end up feeling sick later.

  10. I definitely agree with you that people are more important than food. I learned that early on in my healthy food journey. I might be too relaxed now – I’d just go with option #1 and let my kids eat whatever they can (which isn’t much actually, due to food allergies) with some guidance (more fruits and veggies than other things for example). I probably wouldn’t even preach at them about the food available there; I figure their eating habits will largely be formed at home, so as long as I’m consistent at home with what I give them to eat, they’ll develop healthy heating habits no matter what they ate elsewhere.

  11. Blessed Mama says:

    I personally think people who have had very serious health problems will be much stricter with their children eating healthy, cause they see first hand how destructive bad food can be. That is why I am sure Jordan Rubin is so strict with his children (have you seen how ill that man was? And how a change in diet was a big reason he was cured?) I too have had a severely disabling health condition, which has been so much better through diet, so I too, am very picky about what my children eat and they have never eaten junk. However, I don’t think I am better than others. I recognize that depending on peoples experiences will depend on how strongly they feel about feeding or not feeding their children junk. Healthy people don’t mind the occasional junk, cause they don’t feel it. Unhealthy people are much more aware of the effects of junk, which is why they (including myself) would be more strict. however, i don’t expect others to be like myself. When I was healthy, I wouldn’t have cared about eating sweets and the like. So it isn’t really a “holier than though” attitude. It is different experiences. Trust me when you feel ill from a single bite of food- you wouldn’t want your children eating junk. However, my children are raised to accept that all people eat differently. Even my children eat all sorts of things I can’t have (healthy of course). And they have learned we eat healthy, so that are bodies can work right. As far as bringing food places, I see nothing wrong with that. My friends already know we eat different- that my kids eat gluten free, so I just let them know I’ll bring a gluten free cupcake/muffin for my children if that is okay, or I send my kids with a larabar if a snack is given somewhere that they might be giving out junk. That way my kids still get a treat, but I am okay with it.

    Anyways, I think we should all accept that people eat different depeding on our experiences and should accept those who eat junk and those who eat completely healthy. People make different choices completely dependent on their life experiences or lack their of. So anyways, I won’t be offended if your kids eat junk (my kids would too if it weren’t for my health experiences) and don’t be offended if I send my children with a healthy snack that I am okay with!!!

  12. As others have said, with the exception of protecting children from serious allergies ( I grew up with a friend who had peanut allergies), I think that relationships are definitely more important. Especially if we want to strive to promote relationships with those who aren’t all like us. It can be easier to always pursue relationships with people who do things the way we do and have most if not all of the same values, but sometimes we have to sacrifice a little to expand our circle.
    Also, when I was growing up we didn’t eat junk food at home but when we were at others houses we were free to eat what we wanted. My mother’s philosophy was that I needed to learn to control my own eating habits and portions. She and my father raised me with their values regarding food and health, but ultimately it was up to me to adopt them. For a few years I got sick at every birthday party, stuffing myself to the gills with junk food and soda. (fortunately there weren’t too many). But eventually I learned my lesson. My mother could have made it “easier” for me by not allowing me to attend birthday parties, attending with me to monitor my food intake or sending me with my own healthy snacks. But mostly she dropped me off with a quick warning about not eating too much. Honestly, in general I am a fan of most things in moderation. Do we eat cake and ice cream regularly at our house? No. But has my 2 and a half year old tasted these things? Yes. At friend’s houses, family gatherings and even her own birthday parties. It’s all about balance, at least for us. But as I said, we don’t have any major food allergies to contend with.

  13. First of all… man you guys get up early! I agree with most about doing a combo of being #1 and #2. I especially appreciated Bek’s comment. It’s great to see honesty in the comments. So many times, esp. in an online forum where nobody knows how you really are, people try to be “the MOST crunchy” or the “super organic mom” and aren’t entirely honest. It’s nice to see that there are those of us out there doing the best we can to feed our children real food, who occasionally eat cake.

  14. I’m definitely a #2 Mum, though I doubt I’d say much if my kids chose to eat more than one thing – at least at the time. If someone ended up with a tummy ache after the party, it would definitely turn into a gentle learning lesson. It’s a learning process, and a time to show my children that although our food is important, people are so much more precious, and to offend over our snacks would be wrong. Unless my child had a very specific allergy to certain food/s, I would let it go, because as you point out, 90% of the time, I do have control over what they eat.

  15. We pretty much stick with #2. However, since we go to a lot of social gatherings with junk food, I don’t usually let Jonathan eat anything while there. He’s only 2 1/2, and I just feel like it would be too frequent to let him eat junk food each time we’re at a get together where junk food is offered. I always feed him a big, healthy meal before we go, and when offered food by the host I just say, “thanks, but we just ate and we’re still so full.” I make sure we have a glass of water at the party so it at least doesn’t look like we’re refusing everything.
    When we go to my in-law’s house I usually just bring food. They understand and are supportive of how strict I am with Jonathan’s diet, and while they eat a lot of junk they don’t get offended when I show up with a big salad or smoothies and whole grain muffins.
    People should always win over issues (including healthy food), but I do think many times there’s a way you can do both. At least when they’re 2 1/2:) Teenagers? Hmm . . .

  16. This is rather timely. My daughter’s 4th birthday is tomorrow and her party on Saturday. I guess what I’m doing is meeting someplace in the middle. We will have regular very bad for you candy in the pinata but also some non candy goodies. I think I’m making some beet chocolate cupcakes and some sort of non chocolate cake. I’ll probably use non refined sweeteners. However, It’s a ladybug theme and honestly at this point I kind of want a cute cake over a non food dye laden cake. (I tried to do a caterpillar cake for my other daughter and the “healthy” green was more army than caterpillar.) I’m trying to figure out how to do red and green frosting!
    I know that those coming don’t have the same food ideas as we do but I’d like to serve them the best anyway.

    • Oh, and as a response to what I do when we’re on the opposite side. I’d like to be more 2ish but am probably more 1 like.

    • I made a ladybug cake for my daughter’s birthday last year and used strawberry frosting (with real, frozen strawberries as the only “dye”). It was pink rather than red, but it was super cute.

  17. Personally, I feed my children whole organic healthy foods at home always so that in social situations I don’t have to worry about them eating “fake” foods. It took me some time to get to this point where I can let go of the control over that part of my children’s lives (and a lot of patience from my extended family), but I’m glad I am at that point.

    On the other hand, I’ve actually been the host of a party where one of my guests brought her own food because she assumed I would be serving unhealthy food only (this wasn’t a food-allergy case). I have to say, it wasn’t a good feeling! After that experience, I stopped bringing along my own snacks or meals for my children when we visit in the homes of other people.

  18. I basically handle it the same way you do (sort of combo of #1 and #2…I wouldn’t allow them to “eat freely” but I wouldn’t make it a big deal if they had more than one thing (our normal rule) if offered if otherwise it would be rude or offensive.

    I have always let my child (food allergies aside) have one choice of one thing. We don’t ever eat that sort of food at home, so I’ve actually noticed that they usually don’t want to finish what they picked out as their choice, or even eat a second bite. I never make them finish a sweet since its just extra. I find their taste buds aren’t used to something like that since we don’t have it around.

    I think if we are too controlling then they end up rebelling behind our backs, especially when they are older. If we teach them the whys of nutrition (in our own home not commenting while out) and how we also need to put people first and love others then I think they will learn the balance, or at least have the greatest chance of learning that balance. They might make mistakes (probably!) as they get older and they might do things we don’t want them to do (probably!) but that isn’t ultimately our job. Our job is to teach and show and then eventually its up to them.

    • I completely agree with you. I don’t want my kids to completely rebel when given the chance because I was too controlling over their diets when they were young. My parents limited our treats when we were young (as they should) but it was excessive and I think that’s contributed to me having a bit of an issue/addiction with sugar and treats in general. I don’t want my kids to fight that same battle.

      I don’t allow much junk at home, but it happens (and then it’s homemade and still relatively healthy). I feel like they’re learning healthy habits where it matters, at home. When we’re out that’s different and that’s okay with me.

  19. I’m a #2. My almost 4 year old knows now that he needs to eat a decent amount of good food at home or elsewhere before he can have any treats. We eat well at home.

    My problem has become with exactly how to talk about nutrition with him. He’s very perceptive and has started equating eating junk with a “bad decision” even though I’ve tried to only frame it in terms of health. I think he’s starting to see it as a moral issue. Or at least he’s having a hard time separating it in his mind. He often asks things like “why would grandma give that to me if it is bad and will make me unhealthy??”

    I’m pleased that he sees being healthy as responsible, but I’m a little worried about him inadvertently hurting others’ feelings. Anyone been here?

    • anjanette,

      my mom tried to give my 4 year old daughter fruit loops for breakfast once and my daughter explained to her that we don’t eat them because “they’re too sugary and God didn’t make them that color.” when my mom told me about it, she sounded a little hurt. i think she feels like grandma’s house should be the place where there are no food rules or something. i was proud of my little girl for saying no to junk food, but i did take advantage of the opportunity to teach her to say no graciously. i told her a smiple “no, thank you” is usually enough. and that if someone asks why she can just say that she’d prefer something else, like a piece of fruit or some oatmeal (both things that i know her grandparents always have on hand)

      my daughter is going through the same phase of learning. she is always asking me if something is healthy or unhealthy and if i tell her it’s considered unhealthy she questions me about why the person is eating it or why they offered it to her. we’re working on learning about moderation now. :)

  20. It’s all about 80/20. 80% of the time I strive to fill their bellies with real foods but 20% of the time it’s about family and friends (or a sick/tired mama). The real world that our children will encounter as they grow is not padded or contained to our own ideals and we should raise our children to be gracious as well as intelligent and thoughtful about the situations that confront them.

  21. This was a very intriguing article for me as it has been a question I have pondered since our son’s birth. We have been diligent about our son’s food and general health before he was even conceived. I breast fed him, made baby food for him, and he ate nothing out of a package. Despite all our efforts out baby is dealing with what appears to be symptoms of autism. In our son’s case, certain foods seem to exacerbate the problem, namely sugar, wheat and dairy, and thus we have adopted the lifestyle of always having food on-hand for him. We will be doing the GAPS diet intro with him in a few weeks, which is supposed to help heal the gut, which seems to be his primary issue, and I am hoping and praying that there will be a time where he can occasionally have a store-bought birthday cake, but it will be a while before that will occur.
    BTW: Stephanie, I feel you did a great job of addressing the issue. I think I would do just as you did.

    • Charise, you sound exactly like me. Both of my children are fed in the same manner that you discussed. My oldest is 2 1/2 and despite all of the breastfeeding, non packaged, whole foods…he has been diagnosed as severely autistic. The diagnosis came when my youngest son had just turned 5 months old.
      It is a roller coaster of grieving and emotions. I did question many times if all the “work” was even worth it and if I should just let my baby Isaiah eat what is on sale, what is easy, etc. The answer is “yes, the work is worth it”.
      If your child becomes diagnosed with autism, PLEASE know that YOU did nothing to cause this. I also found out that a gluten free dairy free diet helps my son so much, as many children on the spectrum are sensitive to gluten and dairy. WOW all the home made loafs of wheat bread I have baked him in his little life…
      there was no way for me to know any different. If you need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to email me. forhisglory58@yahoo.com
      We are all in this together. <3
      Stephanie, I am sorry I hijacked this thread. My answer is a 2 as well.

  22. Thanks so much for writing about this. The issues you are concerned about are so near to my own concerns, it is like reading my own mind sometimes (except more articulate and with better solutions!).
    I agree with most of the commenters so far, and we approach this kind of situation similar to #2 in your post.
    I find 1 Tim 4: 8 helpful in keeping perspective. I know it doesn’t speak directly to this exact issue, but the heart of it offers some guidance.
    “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”
    It seems to me that, in the heart of scripture and of God, our relationships with others is held is higher esteem than bodily care.
    That being said, it is hard and I struggle with the right attitude when my children are being offered these kinds of foods, and I battle right along with all the rest of you!

  23. I read “The Great Physician’s Rx” five years ago and I personally enjoyed the book. It was a catalyst for my family to start eating healthier. I was raised in a Christian home and taught that the Bible was true and I believed the God of the Bible to be loving and wise. He created us and all that is on the earth, he knows how it all functions best. I appreciated the points the author made in the book concerning eating foods in their most natural state, the way God intended us to eat them. In the beginning we made drastic changes to our diet (eliminating white sugar, white flour, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and pork from our diet). We didn’t do it 100% but we did our best to stay away from the “trouble foods” for the most part.

    As time went by, my heart changed. In the beginning I strove to eat better for health reasons, because I knew it was good for me, but over time I started realizing that God instructed his people to eat a certain way because that was his desire for us. He didn’t give us the option of eating whatever we wanted, he was very specific about avoiding certain kinds of meat and HE called them detestable/abominable. He also indicated fruits & vegetables were for all mankind to eat. He gave us the freedom to obey or disobey, but he was clear in his instructions.

    As I said, my heart changed. I love the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength. It is out of my love for him that I seek to obey his instructions. This is how I instruct my children. I teach them the instructions handed down to Moses by God. They have the freedom to choose to obey or disobey. It is my hope and desire that they would obey these instructions out of love.

    At this point we as a family have sworn off “unclean animals for meat” as outlined in the Bible. My kids don’t even see it as a temptation. (They’re 8, 6 & 4) We’re still working on eating more fruits & vegetables (particularly vegetables!). It’s a process, but I believe it starts in the heart, not in the head, and least of all in the belly. Our bellies will always crave what our flesh desires…(and I personally struggle with gluttony — eating way more than I need to), but when our heart is bent on better health or in my case, on loving my God whole-heartedly, then I find it easier to bring our bellies & minds into submission.

    As for social acceptance, I think it is rude of others to condemn children for obeying the instructions of their parents. Naturally, it’s important to teach our children that not everyone eats like we do, and that’s okay. If their parents instruct them otherwise, that’s their business. We are to always be kind to one another. The motivation for not eating certain foods is not the food in and of itself, the motivation is loving obedience to our parents’ instructions. At least, that’s how I feel about it.

    • When I said I thought it was rude of others to condemn children for obeying their parents’ instructions, I was responding to a lot of the comments that had already been made saying it was rude to not eat what was offered at the parties. I’m sorry if that came across badly.

      I do believe it’s rude behavior to turn your nose up at what’s put in front of you, especially when someone went through the trouble of preparing something for you (*and* they thought you would like it). But if a child learns to politely say “no, thank you” and explain that their parents have instructed them not to eat certain kinds of food, and that they’d like to honor their parents by obeying them, I believe that is perfectly acceptable. Not only is it truthful and respectful, it is a good witness on how to honor your parents amidst peer pressure to do otherwise.

  24. While in my heart I am a #3 parent, I usually suck it up and act like a #1. I admit, I have control issues, but I’m trying to let go for the sanity of my children, myself, and my new husband.

  25. We opt for option 3, but we always always always bring enough to share. We are mindful to let people know that we have some food sensitivities in our family and that we are trying to do our absolute best to treat our bodies as if they are temples. I am one of those moms whose daughter has never had white sugar, white flour, pasteurized dairy, kool-aid, etc. It took some hard work in the beginning, but now that E is 4, she pretty much just looks for other healthful options on her own. My approach is by honestly teaching her (or any other children who come into our family) about how things are prepared and why we eat the way we do, that when she is older she will be able to make her best decisions because she will have the information that she needs. I am not delusional, however, I do know that she one day may choose something that I would never have in my home, but my stewardship (in my opinion) is to teach her correct principles now so she can govern herself later.

    • I like that you bring enough to share, and for those with serious food allergies or sensitivities, I think that bringing along a dish for sharing (perhaps gently asking the host if this would be ok first) might be a way to approach these situations for kids who truly can’t eat what is being served. I know that it’s hard to be the only one at a party who can’t eat anything that’s being served, and when it comes to allergies (which many people have mentioned in the comments) then I think there are some appropriate ways to handle the situation and still have food for your child to eat at a celebration or other social event.