The question that has been on my mind lately is how on earth I am going to shape my child’s eating habits into healthy ones. I know the obvious answer- feed him real, nourishing food, skip the kid food, avoid sugary processed junk, let him see me eating healthy foods and making good choices and all will be well, right?
But don’t we all remember those kids from our childhoods who had “health-nut” parents, whom we thought were downright nutty? Then these very same kids who were fed whole wheat bread and unsweetened almond butter at home came over to our house (or the neighbor’s, or frankly any other house they could find) and binged on candy and chips and soda and frankly anything else any “normal” kitchen would stock and consumed way more in one sitting than we ever would.
Man, were those kids weird! And so were their parents for making them that way!
Herein lies my predicament. I really only want my child to eat whole foods, skip kid food, and avoid processed, chemical-ized, artificial junk! Of course I don’t want it to become an issue, or a struggle, or good food vs. bad food, or, “he can’t have that” when all the other kids are, etc., but the thought occurred to me that even if he devours any junk in site while at a friend’s house, it will probably make him feel bad and he’ll more likely connect those junk-y feelings with eating junk food. And since he’ll be “eating well” at home, the majority of his diet will be nourishing.
I know this will be more and more difficult as he gets older, and my main goal has been to be very “strict” (though I don’t like that term) about his diet until he turns 3 because good nutrition during the first 3 years of life sets the foundation for future mental and physical health, academic ability, and overall well-being. More and more I have to watch what I eat around him because he wants a bite or a sip of everything I have. My rule is that if he sees me eating it, I can’t tell him he can’t have any so this has cleaned up my afternoon tea/scone habit and morning pain chocolat habit quite a bit. I am also a firm believer in “everything in moderation” and “there is no such thing as bad food, as long as it’s real food.” Thus, on a particularly hot day last week, we stopped for ice cream. I gave him bites every time he asked for them, and I’m pretty sure that was the first time he’s had ice cream. Can I tell you that EVERY DAY since that treat he has chanted, “ice keem, ice keem, ice keem!” I was hoping that giving it to him when he asked would take away the novelty and notion of forbidden fruit and it would be no big deal. I had no idea I was creating an ice cream monster!
Again I say, I know this will get more and more challenging as he gets older.
I would like to eternalize in writing that as of right now, my 22 month old’s favorite foods are: broccoli, hummus, eggs, frozen blueberries, salmon, unsweetened almond butter, raisins, ezekiel bread, green smoothies, watermelon, carrots, plain yogurt, black beans, dark chocolate and herbal tea.
And he loves loves loves taking his cod liver oil.
Now talk to me in a year.