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Raising french-fry eating kids

Categories: Push my Button

3 comments

I was once a Sanctimommy. I had high ideals about how I would raise my children and judged others for failing to toe my self-imposed line. Especially about what my kids ate. My kids would not eat junk food, I vowed. Processed foods would not cross our door. I would cook everything the Little House on the Prairie way, if you didn’t count my electric stove, my Vita-Mix superblender and my All-Clad pots and pans. Sugar would not pass my children’s lips unless it was unrefined organic Rapadura cane sugar home-baked into organic whole-wheat cookies or nutritious carrot muffins. My children would adore broccoli and all green vegetables. They would blissfully pass by fast food McRestaurants, never knowing what was inside.

Then reality set in, just like in Lisa Belkin’s NY Times Motherlode blog. It’s true that my kids mostly prefer “Mama’s cooking” to anything tipped out of a giant-sized Costco freezer bag and warmed in a microwave, but it’s also true that my good intentions went fast by the wayside and on into the world of white foods — bread, bananas, and pasta — more easily than I had ever imagined they might. My older son once spent a week in Paris existing on nothing but bread and bananas. My younger son now apparently lives on chicken nuggets. My daughter used to stare balefully at me whenever I served her any of her hated foods (a list that changed daily and without notice). I tried hard to maintain my high ideals but the bar was just set too high. Some battles are not meant to be won, if they are fought at all.

Now my kids mostly make their own meals. From afar, I’ve helped them learn to cook. All the broccoli I tossed in their direction seems to have made an impression, because I hear them making decent choices about what they eat. Other parents have bigger battles to wage, but my guess is that most of us have had to make concessions in the realm of food and expectations of über-nutritious kid meals.

Did reality match your expectations of what your kids eat? What’s your junk food tolerance level?



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3 comments so far...

  • My kids are 4, so I still have some control over what they eat. I do push healthy foods. My original reason, and one that still applies, is that I want “real food” to be their “comfort food.” I want them to wonder “where is the vegetable” if one isn’t served. This has worked pretty well. Of course it’s not 100%, but it’s a foundation. I also talk to them about how I make nutrition choices and involve them in the choices.

    Preschool has introduced the kids to the idea that they need to have sugar every day, that McD’s is a hot destination, etc. However, their school does serve “real food” and that includes fruits and vegetables every day. Their teachers / coaches also reinforce my lessons about good food choices. So I can’t really complain.

    So far we don’t do stuff like fries except on rare / special occasions. But I’m sure that the minute they get a chance, they will try eating them every day. Hopefully there will be enough good foundation to balance that out until they decide that it’s not that cool after all.

    SKL  |  May 19th, 2011 at 10:56 pm

  • It’s impossible to feed your kids a clean diet 100% of the time. I’m a fitness therapist and we eat mostly organic food, not much processed stuff but we do allow our kids some junk and fast food and pizzas and sometimes even soft drinks.

    I grew up in a home where nothing processed was allowed and when I left for college it was hard to learn balance. I was either at one extreme or the other. I don’t want my son to have this problem.

    Most days he has a low sugar granola bar or organic fruit (berries, apples, oranges) for breakfast, turkey and pastrami and cheese on 7 grain for lunch and is allowed chips and a juice drink for a snack. At dinner time it’s usually organic chicken or fish, whole grain rice or beans and tons of veggies including kale chard and all those other greens most kids hate. He eats every vegetable out there except bell peppers.

    If your kids are eating 80% healthy and clean then you’re doing an exceptional job compared to most Americans.

    mneave  |  May 21st, 2011 at 1:34 am

  • I have a bigger battle: myself! I was raised on Hamburger Helper, Mac-N-Cheese, frozen pizzas, etc. My eating habits are HORRIBLE! Luckily, my son takes after his father. He will eat just about anything, healthy or not. His farvorite meal: seafood of any sort. He LOVES broccoli, no matter how it’s cooked, and he has his cravings for McDonalds and Burger King too. I am the one that struggles with eating healthier, so that my son will eat healthy! :)

    laurantexas  |  May 23rd, 2011 at 12:25 pm

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