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?