This post is inspired by the novel Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo. Worried about what her kids eat, Julia Bailey starts a prepared organic toddler meals business. With names like Gentil Lentil, can Julia balance work and family and still save the world? Join From Left to Write on May 24th as we discuss Julia’s Child. As a member, I received a free copy of the book.
I don’t know how things have gone in your house when it comes to introducing your kids to new foods, but ours has gone a bit like this.
Kid #1: Grains, veggies, more veggies, fruit, more fruit, dairy… [A couple years of self-righteousness pass seeing others feeding their kids things I swear I never will.] Organic juice, organic fruit snacks, organic who-cares-what-it-is-because-it-says-organic, buckets of sugar (but most of it organic).
Kid #2: Grains, veggies, more veggies, fruit, more fruit, dairy…. [A couple weeks of exhaustion pass seeing others feeding their toddlers things and I think, “Hmm, how convenient.”] Goldfish, fruit snacks, who-cares-what-it-is-at-least-my-kid-eats-it, buckets of sugar.
Kid #3: Grains, veggies, more veggies, fruit, more fruit, dairy. Dot. Dot. Dot.
That’s right, we’re at the turning point with Pink (who just turned one). And I’m determined to do things differently. This year, I’ve been working with Cristie at Real Life Wellness to improve my own health—to be more conscious of the choices I’m making. And in doing so, I’ve made a lot of changes to the way I feed my kids. I’ve realized that, like me, they (for the most part) only eat things that I buy and keep around the house. It really is that simple.
And, in the process I refuse to resort to the overflowing section of the bookstore that covers how to “trick” your kids into eating healthy foods. Sure, I can see the short-term gain, but what is that really teaching them about eating right? Instead, I’m trying to empower my kids to make good choices. Because if you think about it, that’s where your kids started. With the good stuff. Not because one of them was cruising down the grocery aisle and saw winter squash and said, “Put down those Nilla Wafers and hand over the irresistible orange goop.” But because you were exposing him to foods that were good for him. And he even liked them. Ok, not all of them, maybe. But some. And that’s the sweet spot, I’ve found. The some.
Together, my kids and I have been taking stock of the healthy foods we enjoy and why they make us feel good. I’ve started buying their favorite veggies (peppers, snap peas, carrots, etc) and taking those with us to the park instead of a snack pack of sugary crackers. I’ve started trying new simple dinner recipes and giving each one a couple tries, adjusting as I go when things weren’t quite right the first time. And we’re making progress.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from perfect (in just about every way). We still enjoy comfort foods and conveniences more than we should (after all, I’m the one who writes Pizza & Wine Friday posts!). And I’m certainly not going to deprive my active, strong kids of a few treats along the way. But I am trying not to restock some of the old standbys that were weighing us down on a daily basis. And I am trying to stock up on foods with ingredients I can pronounce (even Big is getting in on this game). Believe it or not, I haven’t even gotten many complaints along the way. Which just goes to show, maybe the convenient stuff was really as much for my benefit as my kids’ appetites.