Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Trying to get your kids to eat nutritious foods in sustaining amounts is possibly the biggest struggle of parenting. I'm not a fan of struggle.
So I choose to opt out.
Instead of stressing about vegetable servings and family meals, I choose to feed the six year old food she would like and want to eat.
I indulged in chicken nuggets, fish sticks and mac'n'cheese.
I gave yogurts that taste fruity and yummy (have sugar.)
I offered fruit and vegetables but if they didn't taste good to the six year old - I didn't push them.
We ended up with a small repertoire but it did involve all the food groups and she ate heartily.
I did choose organic and drinks in this house are milk or water. We don't do fast food.
Well when I say we....
I also let her eat while listening to books on CD or even watching a DVD. Big no-no's as far as the parenting books are concerned. You won't find that chapter in MY book.
We don't do family meal during the week. I find it much easier to feed the kids and get them off to bed and then enjoy a meal with the husband.
I don't know about you but a meal with the kids usually means I eat cold food or don't even taste it because I had to eat so quickly.
Wait - am I actually doing something that makes my life better for me?
I listened to conversations at the park where more diligent moms were lamenting the fact that they cooked a delicious meal involving spinach and kale - only to find that their kid wouldn't eat one bite.
I also have friends who's kids will eat anything.
I have felt guilty but I just kept thinking that you pick your battles and I couldn't face this fight three times a day. My thinking was that she would grow out of her kid meal phase. Right?
My cousin (true story) ate nothing but Spam, yes I do mean Spam, for two whole years.
TWO YEARS. My poor Aunt took him to nutritionists and doctors but nothing dissuaded him.
One day he asked for something else and never looked back. Now he's a strapping 30 year old, healthy man. He has two kids. Secretly, I bet my Aunt is hoping his kids return the favor!
Yesterday I realized my Chicken McNuggetry© had payed off.
I looked in the freezer and found it packed with the old staples.
I hadn't even really noticed but the six year old is now eating chicken breast, fish, rice, lots of vegetables. Not just eating them - choosing them.
She just slid into it. When I offered a new food she tried it. No tears, no fuss.
I feel victorious. I have managed to teach healthy eating habits. I did it with frozen food.