Before I had my girls there were things that made me nervous about becoming a parent – the lack of sleep, the endless parade of dirty diapers, and the fact that cute little babies eventually morph into venom spewing teenagers. There was one thing though that I was convinced would be easy – making sure that my kids ate healthy.
“Kids only eat bad food because parents give it to them,” I used to shout from atop my soap box. “If you feed them vegetables, they will eat vegetables. It’s not like they’re born asking for McDonalds!”
It was all very clear to me. My kids were going to grow up to be like this kid I went to Junior High School with whose favorite after school snack was a raw tomato. Yup. A raw flippin’ tomato.
Well, Annie is only fourteen months old but I’m already seeing that making sure she eats right is not quite so easy.
Kids (and babies) WILL actually avoid healthy food. I’ve spent hours in front of Annie’s high chair trying in vain to feed her vegetables or vegetable based baby foods. I had no idea how finicky little ones could be about what they eat.
Little ones also watch what we eat and want to imitate us. When I eat potato chips Annie tries to reach into the bowl. When I eat ice cream she opens her mouth wide for a bite.
Yesterday she even picked up an empty soda can and pretended to drink it. My fourteen month old! I knew it was important for parents to set a good example for their kids’ eating habits, I just had no idea how soon I would have to start setting that example.
Adding insult to injury the food options available to kids and babies are ridiculous. Have you seen a Kid’ s Menu at a restaurant lately? Cheesy Mac & Cheese, Greasy chicken fingers, hot dogs… adults shun this stuff in fear of having a heart attack, but we gladly give it to our kids.
The Supermarket is almost as bad. Take a look at the baby aisle and you will see it is largely made up of cookies, crackers, puffs, mac & cheese, pasta stars in marinera sauce, raviolis, etc. How is that stuff healthy?
As you can see, Annie IS eating food. I just worry that she isn’t getting the right nutrition, especially after a day like today when she ate puffs, mac & cheese, and yogurt. (And milk, of course.)
Four years ago I would have found it very hard to believe that I would have no problem changing even the nastiest of diapers, but that I would be up at night worrying about what I can do to make sure Annie eats right.