I've been thinking about food a lot lately as I have been going through some allergy testing. I've also been around a lot of different people lately with different eating habits than my own, good and bad. Here are some thoughts I have about children and eating.
Justin has always been a good eater. He goes through stages though when he hates certain foods and then he will love them again. It's odd. Lately he has found many of my dinner choices to be gross. We've been trying to teach Justin not to say, "This is nasty!" or "this is de-scusting!" Instead, we would like him to say, "No thank you, I don't think I want this." Honestly, it just hurts my feelings (I already have picky Ryan poking at his plate and moving around beans, so I don't want another one of these on my hands), and he needs to learn how to react when someone puts foods in front of him that he doesn't like. We don't force him to eat food, but I'm trying to teach him to eat around the foods that he doesn't like and just eat the ones he enjoys. I try my best to not change the meal or pick out items that he doesn't like. That is his job.
Over several years Ryan and I have made some changes to our food cupboards and general eating habits. Junk foods such as chips have to have a purpose. We don't purchase them as snacks. We allow ourselves a bag of chips if Ryan is bbqing hamburgers for example. In fact, Justin calls them, "Those chips we have with hamburbers." Then of course we finish them off as snacks and when they are gone they are gone. Now, this is not to say that we never have chips as a snack, on occasion I splurge but I always try to come up with a good excuse, like friends are coming over and we're eating sandwiches, or something.
When it comes to most other junk foods, my personal philosophy is that if you don't have them in your home, or don't offer them to your child they don't even know they exist. We don't do juice, or processed foods or frozen meals, or anything like that. Now, that's not to say that Justin doesn't have the occasional mac and cheese or PBJ, but when he does I buy mac and cheese with real cheese and we use organic pb and fruit preserves on wheat bread. I just try to be choosey.
It's not that I'm against junk food, in fact I love junk food. I always have some chocolate in my home and I enjoy ice cream a lot. But I try to bake most of my own sweets and I buy small pint size ice creams. Again, when they are gone, they're gone. It's pretty simple really. If you don't want your kid to have it, or you don't want to be tempted by it yourself, then don't buy it and don't bring it in your house.
Just a quick rant...I get irritated when I hear women say, "All my kid will eat is a pbj and juice!" or whatever their story is. I want to roll my eyes and walk away. Are you kidding me? Who is in charge here? As mothers it is our job to grocery shop, make meals and provide them to our children. If your child is only eating pbjs and juice, that's because you are giving it to him. Arg!
Just a silly story. Well, first off, since I've been on my Glairegg free diet I've been making a lot of new recipes. Lots of beans and different types on grains and legumes. I love quinoa, barley and lentils. I recently bought some millet after attending chef Brad's class. One evening, Justin was helping me cook. While I was pulling out the brown rice he got so excited and screamed, "Yay! millet! I like millet. We have it at school with that sweet soy sauce. That dif'rent kind of soy sauce that's sweet. When can we get that dif'rent sauce?" I was laughing so hard. What five year old busts a gut in excitement over millet? What a nerd my boy is. He has also been requesting salad specifically with spinach for his school lunches and he loves mango and likes to mix them. Weird yes, healthy too? Yes! I'm proud of his eating habits. I feel like I am offering him a variety of healthy food choices and he is growing into some great food tastes.