Diet for kids who only eat donuts


Balancing the Diet of Kids Who Only Want to Eat Donuts is a parent’s nightmare. Here is a possible solution.

As parents, we’ve all been there – the nightly dinner battle with our little ones who would rather have donuts than anything else on their plate.

Ensuring a balanced diet for our children is essential for their growth and development.

This article aims to offer practical tips and strategies for parents facing this sugary challenge, without completely eliminating their children’s favorite treat.

Balancing the Diet of Kids Who Only Want to Eat Donuts
Img by Pixabay

The Problem: Why Kids Love Donuts

Donuts are the epitome of sensory delight for kids:

  • Sweet: The sugar content appeals to their natural preference for sweetness.
  • Colorful: The sprinkles and icing are visually stimulating.
  • Texture: The soft and chewy texture is pleasing to eat.

While these characteristics make donuts delightful, a diet high in them poses serious health risks:

  • Sugar: High sugar intake can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Fat: Saturated fats can contribute to high cholesterol.
  • Nutrient Deficiency: Lack of essential nutrients for growth and development.

The Basics of a Balanced Diet

Before we delve into strategies, let’s understand the basics of a balanced diet:


  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats


  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

A balanced diet consists of a variety of foods in appropriate proportions. The recommended daily servings for each food group are as follows:

Food GroupRecommended Daily Servings
Fruits1-2 cups
Vegetables1-3 cups
Grains4-8 ounces
Proteins2-6 ounces
Dairy2-3 cups

The Allure of Forbidden Foods

Making donuts a “forbidden” food can lead to more craving and can backfire in the long run. The key is moderation, not deprivation.

Understanding the Forbidden-Fruit Phenomenon

The Psychology of Craving What We Can’t Have

Have you ever committed to a healthier diet, only to find yourself yearning for the exact foods you vowed to avoid?

This widespread experience is referred to as the “forbidden-fruit phenomenon.”

When we label certain foods as off-limits or “bad,” our desire for them can intensify.

Why the Forbidden-Fruit Phenomenon Occurs

Understanding the forbidden-fruit phenomenon requires looking at the cognitive and emotional factors that contribute to it.

Below are some key reasons why this phenomenon occurs:

  1. Scarcity Heuristic: This is a cognitive bias that leads us to assign greater value to things that are scarce or hard to obtain. This explains why limited-edition items often attract higher prices.
  2. Excitement and Anticipation: Labeling a food as “bad” can create a sense of excitement or anticipation. The idea that you’re not supposed to have it makes the food even more alluring.
  3. Emotional Triggers: Stress, boredom, or negative emotions can make us more likely to desire unhealthy foods, as they offer a temporary escape from discomfort.

Strategies to Overcome the Forbidden-Fruit Phenomenon

Here are some tips to help you counteract the forbidden-fruit phenomenon:

  • Avoid Labeling Foods as “Bad”: Focusing on a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods can help prevent the trap of making certain foods off-limits.
  • Moderation Over Restriction: Overly restrictive diets can backfire, making you crave restricted foods even more. Allow small indulgences to mitigate this effect.
  • Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Opt for healthier ways to deal with stress or boredom, such as exercise or social interaction, rather than resorting to comfort eating.

Balancing the Diet of Kids Who Only Want to Eat Donuts

Additional Tips for Reducing Food Cravings

Besides the strategies mentioned above, the following tips can further aid in managing food cravings:

Table: Additional Tips for Reducing Food Cravings

Eat Regular Meals and SnacksEating at regular intervals stabilizes blood sugar levels, preventing extreme hunger and cravings.
Stay HydratedDehydration can be mistaken for hunger; drinking sufficient water can help you differentiate the two.
Get Adequate SleepA well-rested body is less prone to craving unhealthy foods.
Manage StressStress can trigger cravings, so employ techniques like exercise, yoga, or meditation for stress relief.

By understanding the psychological drivers of the forbidden-fruit phenomenon and implementing these tips, you can better manage your cravings and make healthier food choices.

Strategies for Introducing Balanced Eating Habits

Here are some strategies for introducing balanced eating habits to your child:

Incremental Changes

Start by making small changes to your child’s diet. For example, you could reduce the portion size of the donut or offer it alongside a piece of fruit.

Healthy Swaps

Instead of sugary donuts, offer your child whole-grain or baked versions. You can also use fruit purees instead of sugar for sweetness.

Involve Kids in Meal Planning

Take your child grocery shopping and allow them to pick one new vegetable or fruit each week. Get them involved in cooking to make the process more engaging.

Set a Good Example

If you eat sugar-glazed donuts for breakfast you must expect that your child will want to do the same.

Your eating habits influence your children. Make sure you’re also eating a balanced diet.

Education and Awareness

Discuss the benefits of different foods with your child. Use books or apps that educate children on nutrition.

The Role of Schools and Peers

Schools and peer influence can also play a role in your child’s diet.

Here’s what you can do:

Communicate with School Staff

Know what’s on the school menu and coordinate with cafeteria staff or teachers to encourage healthier choices.

Pack Lunches

Consider packing lunches that include healthy options your child enjoys.

Teach Decision-Making

Use the school cafeteria as a teaching moment to discuss making balanced choices.

Seasonal and Cultural Factors

Seasonal Foods

Use the changing seasons to introduce new fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Cultural Foods

Different cultures offer a variety of healthy options that can be exciting and new.

Screen Time and Advertising

Limit Screen Time

Consider limiting screen time or using ad-blockers to minimize exposure to food advertisements.

Discuss Marketing Tactics

Educate your child about the tricks advertisers use to make unhealthy foods look appealing.

Handling Social Events and Peer Pressure

Prep Ahead

Have a conversation with your child before attending social events, setting expectations and limits.

Provide Alternatives

If possible, bring a healthy snack or dish that your child enjoys to share at social gatherings.


Creating a balanced diet for your child involves many facets – moderation, healthy swaps, involving kids in meal planning, and navigating external influences like school, culture, and advertising.

It may sound daunting, but remember, the goal isn’t to eliminate treats but to find a happy, healthy medium. The earlier we start building these habits, the better the lifelong benefits will be for our children.

Additional Resources for Balancing the Diet of Kids Who Only Want to Eat Donuts


  • “Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense” by Ellyn Satter
    • “Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense” is a book written by Ellyn Satter. Originally published in 1983, it provides advice and guidelines on childhood nutrition for parents and health professionals. Ellyn Satter’s work emphasizes a division of responsibility in feeding, where parents are responsible for what and when to feed their children, while children are responsible for deciding how much to eat.
    • This book has received positive reviews, including a 5-star review on Thrift Books.
    • If you are looking for more detailed information about the book’s content or specific topics it covers, you may consider checking out the book on Google Books.
  • “Fearless Feeding” by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen
    • “Fearless Feeding” is a book authored by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen. It provides parents with a comprehensive guide to understanding and improving their children’s eating habits from early childhood to high school. The book equips parents with the tools necessary to encourage healthy eating in children of all ages.
    • “Fearless Feeding” is well-regarded, with a 4.1-star review on both AbeBooks and Goodreads. Additionally, the book is can be found on Google Books.
    • If you are interested in promoting healthy eating habits in your children or gaining insights into child nutrition, “Fearless Feeding” by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen is a valuable resource to consider exploring.



Additional Tips

  • Be patient and consistent. It may take time for your child to develop a taste for healthy foods.
  • Don’t give up. If your child has a setback, don’t get discouraged. Just keep trying.
  • Celebrate successes. When your child makes a healthy choice, be sure to praise them.

I believe in you and your ability to help your child develop healthy eating habits.