Signs Your Kid Is Eating Unhealthy Away From Home
If it were up to you as a parent, your child would never leave your side. You’d have eyes on him at all times. But that wouldn’t result in a very well-adjusted individual. And it wouldn’t leave much opportunity for you and your partner to have date night, or really any time to yourself. It is stressful, of course, not to have control over what your child is doing once he leaves the house—particularly what he is eating. At home you may make wholesome meals filled with lean proteins, lots of veggies and dark grains. But even if your child has developed a taste for healthy food, all kids are curious about lunchables, the shiny packages in the school vending machines, and the colorful treats their friends are eating. They can’t help it! And the tendency to get addicted to those foods is much stronger than the one to crave kale. Here are signs your kid is eating unhealthy away from home.
Eating at his friend’s house
If your child has started insisting on eating breakfast or dinner at his friend’s house, there is a good chance it’s because that friend’s parents serve unhealthy things you won’t serve.
Not being hungry at home
If your child isn’t hungry at dinner, but isn’t losing any weight, it could be because he’s gorging on fast food and other unhealthy items before coming home from school.
Not wanting you to serve lunch
If parents can volunteer to serve lunch at your child’s school, and your child demands that you don’t, there could be a reason for that. If he’s never shown any embarrassment about having you around otherwise, it could be because he doesn’t want you to see the food choices he makes.
Claiming the price of lunch went up
If your child keeps claiming he needs a little more money for his school lunch, but the school hasn’t notified you of a price increase, it’s possible that your child just wants cash to buy unhealthy snacks from the vending machine.
Taking out his own trash
If your kid insists on taking his own trash out, it could be because he doesn’t want you to see the candy wrappers, chip bags and fruit roll up papers in there. Or the receipts from the candy stores.
Incremental weight gain
If your child is slowly gaining weight, but you are serving very healthy meals at home, he is most likely secretly eating junk food away from the home. Hormones could be at play, of course, but if your child is displaying some of these other signs, it is likely food sneaking.
Secrecy around his backpack
There are a lot of reasons a child may not want you to look in his backpack, but one could be that he doesn’t want you to see the remnants of junk food and candy in there. Junk food is pretty potent, so just sniffing his backpack could tip you off to things like candy and chips.
If your child is experiencing burst of hyper energy, followed by the need to nap, it’s quite possible that he’s drinking high-sugary drinks that are off limits in your home.
Eating a diet high in sugar and trans fats can also lead to mood fluctuations. If your child hasn’t hit puberty yet, or already went through it, and is facing mood fluctuations still, food sneaking could be to blame.
Nervousness at doctor’s appointments
The doctor will ask your child about his diet. If your child gets shifty eyed during this part of the conversation, or seems to have trouble remembering what he has eaten, it could be because he doesn’t want you to hear the truth.
Complaining that his friend gets to eat junk food
If your child is already outwardly complaining that his friends get to have junk food and he can’t, there is a good chance he is seeking out that junk food when he isn’t at home.
“Hanging” at delis
If your child’s favorite spot to meet up with friends is at the local deli or food court, it’s quite possible that he is eating things he shouldn’t while he is there. There are a lot of other places children can hang out.
Loss of interest in your treats
If your child has suddenly lost interest in the healthy treats you make that he used to get excited for (like brown rice crispy treats) it could be because the processed foods he secretly eats have made your healthy foods boring.
Or obsession over “cheat day”
If your child’s favorite day of the week is the day you let him eat junk food, he gets up extra early on that day to get it started and talks about it all week long, he is a bit food obsessed. If that is the case, he probably secretly eats junk food.
Complaints of stomachaches
If your child complains of stomach aches, is suddenly experiencing bloat or constipation, but the doctor cannot find anything wrong with him, there is a good chance he is eating foods that cause these symptoms.