My baby had her first French fry today. Actually, she’s officially a toddler now but yeah she had a French fry today! I can almost hear some saying, “baby or toddler it doesn’t matter! After all she preaches about healthy cooking and eating real nutritious foods, she’s off feeding her one year old French fries!!”
Let me tell you exactly what happened and why this particular event warranted its own blog post and did not end with me hiding my head under my pillow!
Me, my mum and my daughter. All three sitting in the living room waiting for lunch to be ready. I was waiting for the boiled potatoes to be done, while mum waited for her French fries. She rarely ever has fries anymore, but this hot summer day begged for some tabbouleh and homemade fries. While mum’s food was ready, baby girl was impatiently waiting for hers. When I went to the kitchen to bring her food, mum got a phone call.
We then both came back to see her swiftly picking up the fries and eating. I guess she had managed to eat around three. Usually, this kind of scenario would have made me boil with anger but I was remarkably calm. However, the worst thing happened next. She refused to eat the mashed potatoes!! The same mashed potatoes she had enjoyed many times before!! She just stared and pointed at the fries and said “nanna” (food). I was horrified. After several attempts, I had to remove the fries and talk to her and play a little before offering the mashed potatoes again. Luckily, she ate them this time around.
So why is this news??
Because of all the following timely reminders …
First, no matter how careful you are about offering your kid the most nutritious, healthy, unprocessed food, there will come a day when things will be out of your control. All you have to do is teach your kid about good nutrition and hope when time comes he/she will make the right decision*.
Second, you are your kids’ number one role model. If you don’t want your kid to be eating junk, then you must not eat junk in front of them**. Simple. Now don’t go eating all the chips and candy when the kids go to bed, okay? We don’t want you starting a new kind of binge eating disorders now!! We’re all off better without that much junk. Your heart, waist and skin will thank you!
Third, your kitchen is your and your kids’ grocery store! Do not bring into your house what you don’t want your kids or yourself to be eating. My parents raised my siblings and I to be healthy eaters. We enjoyed home-cooked meals (burger and occasional fries included) but they never took us to any fast food place (yes, in your face McDonald’s). Yet, this didn’t stop us from having chips and chocolate. The thing is my parents never kept them at home. Whenever we felt the urge, we went to the small grocery store nearby and got a bag of goodies. We munched and nibbled to our satisfaction and kept the leftovers in the pantry.
Can you guess how long these leftovers lasted? Let me just say they were gone before the day was over!
Can you guess now how unhealthy our lives would have been had we been allowed to keep junk at eyesight all the time?? I don’t want to imagine.
Now, in my own home, I do the same. You’d think, as a dietitian, I have more self control and I can live with stacks of chocolate and buckets of ice cream. It is true, I do. But I’m just human. At times, I can be real lazy and take the easy way out. That’s why, I practice real control and never buy them in the first place when I’m grocery shopping. When I feel like having a chocolate bar, I go out and eat it. I don’t bring home goody bags anymore, nor do I eat chips, but I’ll enjoy my sweet treat of choice and call it a day.
Now tell me;
How old was your kid before he/she tasted something you do not approve of? How did you feel about it?
Is there anything you can share that has proven useful when raising your toddler and teaching him/her about good nutrition?
Please share your thoughts! I just love it when you do!
*Obviously my kid is not making any critical decisions now, she’s just discovering and trying all new things.
** I thought my kid was too young for this rule. But since she was hungry and exploring, she wanted a taste of everything we are having.
Image: Couldn’t take a picture of her and the fries but that is one with lettuce, a better example! Lettuce is not easily swallowed and can cause a choking hazard, so I do not offer it. But she managed to pick up a few leaves thinking no one was watching. I kept a close eye!