5 Factors that Highly Drive Children’s Unhealthy Food Choices

Children are very much dependent on their parents in everything. That’s natural, normal and no doubt. All who are now adults have inevitably been through that stage of life, so we do understand. It is truly the parents’ big, big, big responsibility to ensure they teach their kids to make good and right choices in all things. And that does not exempt food choices from the list. 

Your food choices as an adult are greatly influenced by what you were taught and exposed to as a child. Although a lot of things, perspectives and preferences change while growing up, still, there’s a huge part of your childhood that remains in you, and some of them are visible while some are not. Your food selection is one of the most perceptible, though not always immediately noticeable, of all. Typically, some of the foods you eat are healthy, and some are the opposite. Or to say it in another way, you know the right amounts to consume, but sometimes, you fail to observe them. 

You will learn a lot about this matter from the list below. Here are 5 factors that highly drive children’s unhealthy food choices! Why is it important to know them? So that you can be a better parent if you will become a parent in the future. So that you can prevent or correct mistakes now if you are already a parent. And so that even if you aren’t a parent, you can educate your friends and family members who are parents. Read on, and share this piece to people you care for!

1 – Food advertisements (from TV, social media and more)

Then, now and probably always, media plays an enormous role in the choices that people make. Food advertisements have always existed. They all aim to promote their brands and businesses on top of their other goals. As they market their products, some promote healthy eating while some don’t. The latter is what upsets many kids’ choice of food. 

Television is what many children are exposed to, as they watch their favorite cartoons, and it is where they encounter numerous food commercials, including a lot of fast food and junk food. TV commercials are repetitive; they also come with jingles that remain in kids’ memory. As they catch attention and interest, children are also drawn to want to taste and eat those foods presented by media. 

Another thing that’s not a secret in this day and age is that many kids are on their parents’ mobile gadgets from a very young age. While many find it impressive that the young ones are already knowledgeable and skillful (not so much but only for their age) about gadgets, this is actually dangerous. Those kids are often staying in social media sites, streaming sites and video games – all are locations where food ads commonly appear in front of one’s eyes.   

The usually promoted foods include junk foods, fast food, soft drinks, sweets and food with preservatives. You will seldom see vegetables and fruits being actively advertised; and when they are, they don’t seem to be the catchiest. 

2 – Food presentation in school

Next to the home, the school is a child’s learning ground. The foods served and how they are presented can have an impact on the kids’ food preferences too. If pupils try curry for the first time, and it happens in school, and they do not like it, they might not become fond of curry in general as they grow up. That’s just one example situation. 

Moreover, the way food is taught in school can also lead or mislead kids’ knowledge of and desire for healthy eating habits. Some snack bars and vending machines don’t really offer nourishing foods.

3 – Parents’ eating habits

Parents are the first and lifetime teachers of their children. Even when the kids grow up into independent adults, many, if not most, of their beliefs, values and manners are based on their upbringing. Parents certainly have the biggest and longest lasting influence over their children. 

Part of that, parents’ eating habits can affect their children’s because children do what adults do, especially what their parents do. Furthermore, in many families, parents let their kids eat only what they themselves eat. They prepare what only the adults like, but not what everyone, including the kids, need. While the kids grow up and develop their own decision-making abilities, they form their own food choices, but then again, their childhood experiences and learnings have a big say.

4 – Lack of healthy food at home

This is connected to what was mentioned previously. What kids are served with at home can affect what they like or look for to eat, even outside. Lack of healthy food at home can make them used to just eating anything, as long as it satisfies their hunger or cravings. It’s actually sad when kids cannot eat homemade meals, but it’s even sadder when they cannot eat healthy dishes at home. 

If you’re the parent, know that it’s essential to cook for your kids or bake for them. When you cook for them, you can customize their meals according to healthy parameters. You can balance the use of condiments, like salt, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and others, which can be bad to one’s health when taken in large amounts. When you bake for them, the same, plus you can choose healthy baking recipes and practices. You may use top-quality cake flour, bread flour, dough, yeast and many more, ensuring that your kids only eat clean and nutritious grubs. 

5 – Stress and stressful emotions

People’s emotions modify regular food choices and eating patterns. Kids are not exempted. Stress and stressful emotions can lead them to unhealthy food choices. How and why? They eat their “comfort foods” which are most of the time not very healthy when taken in large amounts, like chips, sweets and fatty food. They do stress-eating or do not eat properly.


Absolutely, children’s food choices are shaped by so many factors that surround them as they grow up and learn to live life. From inside the home to outside the comfort zone, there really are things that can mold and even dictate kids’ food habits and preferences. Sadly, many of them lean on the negative and unhealthy impact. That is definitely why parents must be careful, cautious and clever with what they allow their children to be exposed to – things related to media, school, friends, emotions and more. 

Just like how these factors had a part and sometimes still have a part on your food choices as adults, they also do on children’s range of food options. Be nice, and be wise! 

About the Author

Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. Quality and well-researched writing is her worthwhile avenue to enlighten and delight others about things that matter. She is a daytime writer for Mauri Baking Supplies Australia, a chief supplier of bakery ingredient solutions all over New Zealand and Australia. Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.

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