Although a few weeks left in summer vacation, our town is starting to talk about going back to school and we parents can’t wait to see who our children will have for teachers. The packets were supposedly coming last week, then we were told probably by the end of next week. It’s such a big deal to many– not only in getting a good fit with teacher to your child but also to see who of your child’s friends will be in class together. But I’m always hoping we don’t get the “your child’s class is a nut-free class” letter. Luckily my children don’t have any food allergies, but we still have to be considerate of those that do. Especially dangerous ones that can give a reaction just in tiny amounts, like nuts. But, since my two youngest love peanut butter and since my youngest is super picky, it’s not the easiest to find snacks that they’ll eat.
Several things as a parent I wish to accomplish when it comes to food.Most importantly getting my children to eat healthily so that they will be healthy and making sure they have a healthy relationship with food— no hang-ups, eating disorders or dieting fads. Sometimes in order to do the latter the former must be set aside. Finally, learning to be adventurous with foods is part of not having neuroses but also so they can go anywhere in the world and always find food to eat.
Occasionally they are allowed candy, ice cream, popsicles, soda, sugary cereal, cookies, cakes, fries, chicken nuggets, pizza, etc.But I truly try to see that it’s only on occasion. We don’t have dessert every night and they must finish dinner (to my satisfaction— like all the veggies and most of the protein) to get it. I prefer to give them homemade desserts or those that are perishable over highly processed packaged sweets. We don’t go to fast food restaurants often- but when we do I order one medium fries for everyone (including me) to share and they get milk (regular not chocolate) and whatever fruit is available.When they have soda it’s one 12 oz bottle or can shared between the three of them. I would rather them eat ice cream (real, natural, creamy ice cream) than any other “frozen confectionary” because I don’t fear the sugar or fat, but the ingredients that would be foreign to my grandmother. I’d rather make my own popsicles than buy them because I dislike artificial colors and many preservatives over other ingredients.
I feel always denying my children the unhealthy stuff could set them up for disaster later on.I remember going to a friend’s house when I was little and stuffing as many Twinkies and Yankee Doodles into my mouth during the visit as was possible because I wasn’t allowed them. Luckily I found balance. I want my kids to know that a little of this stuff probably won’t do much harm, but a lot of it will.
I also believe that by opening my children up to many different foods will make it easier to travel in the future. At 16 I went off on my own to the other side of the world.Traveling is a huge love of mine, that I wish to pass down to my kids. If one is unable to be adventurous with foods it can limit one’s enjoyment when faced with unfamiliar foods and cultures.
So you will notice this blog is mainly about cooking and feeding my kids healthful foods, I do sometimes allow them some junk. But how I do it and how often helps maintain the healthier lifestyle that I want my kids to emulate.