‘Healthy Junk Food’ Exists & It’s Good for Our Kids

The box full of Pirate’s Booty was supposed to celebrate the new way the company is making parents’ lives easier. The melt-in-your-mouth corn puffs now come in little baggies, perfect for your lunch.

I admit I did a little dance. And not just because it was free (little blogger disclaimer there!).

Yes, I’m one of the parents who has embraced Pirate’s Booty. I suppose you could say I “got hooked.” And now that it’s more convenient, well, I’ve fallen hook … line and sinker. And this blog post comes because I’m learning I have to share that. I have to tell people that I’m OK with my kid eating a snack or two.

It’s part of a struggle that began when she was born to give my kid the chance to live a life free of the disordered eating that has defined mine.

I don’t want to deny her snacks. I just want to make them slightly better than what I had … and make sure they don’t take control of her mind as it wanders during math class, her mouth beginning to salivate over the promise of what’s waiting in the lunch box.

That was my life. I don’t want it to be hers.

We were kids raised by a generation grabbing hold of convenience foods that they didn’t know would bite us in the ass. TV dinners. White bread.

We’ve learned a lot from that time, and yet, in the fight against childhood obesity, it seems we have swung wildly in the opposite direction. People talk about raising their kids “sugar-free.” The word “snack” is up there with the f-bomb.

There is no space to teach them responsible snacking, to enjoy “bad” foods in moderation.

Coming from a recovering bulimic, I’m going to put it flat out … that’s “disordered” eating too. That’s not going to help our kids in the long run. They need to learn to eat the bad with the good, and something in between.

Snacking is a good thing.

Really.

As long as they are responsible snackers.

And so that box of Pirate’s Booty has done more than get me ready for back-to-school lunches. It’s given me the chance to really think about what I’m feeding her and why … and why I’m OK with what I’m doing.

Yes, I let my kid eat stuff like Pirate’s Booty for snacktime. It’s not “health” food. But it’s a healthier version of junk food.

And that’s the way I believe we have to be to be good parents. We don’t have to deny them everything that made our childhoods so sweet, made it so hard for us to lose weight, so hard for us to control our appetites.

We just have to improve on it a little.

Here’s the thing: we already have a taste for complete crap. Our kids don’t have to.

So my kid gets bread … but it’s wheat. She gets milk … but it’s the low-fat kind. She gets snacks, but they have a lot less sodium, no MSG, and no artificial colors.

Do you let your kids eat “healthy junk food”?

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a few free packs of Pirate’s Booty which inspired this review. I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions in this blog post are my own.

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