I pride myself in being a generally healthy eater, trying to concentrate on fresh, whole foods that are low in fat and refined carbohydrates. Not my whole household does the same.
When B was a baby, she ate everything I gave her. She loved scrambled eggs, fish, tofu, fruits and vegetables. Stir-fried broccoli from the local Chinese restaurant was greeted with smiles and kicking feet. Then, something changed.
It started innocently, with a chocolate chip cookie baked as a distraction during the days that followed 9/11. She eyed it tentatively at first, then gave it a cautious lick. As a big grin swept over her face, she realized she discovered something delicious. Still, sweets were offered in only in moderation.
Next, there was the hotdog, offered unwittingly by a parent on a play date. Little by little, she was introduced to the fried, the processed and the heavily sweetened. Little by little, she balked at the healthy foods being served to her, and morphed into an average kid, with an average palate.
Now heading into her teens, her poor habits are exacerbated by her ability to go into the kitchen and help herself. I am the enabler, making sure the cupboards and freezer are stocked with foods she likes.
Last night, when I saw the wrappers from the afternoon snacks in the trash, I offhandedly voiced my concern, stating that she was going to end up diabetic if she didn’t clean up her act.
Today after school, B asked me if she is really a candidate for illness, even though she is active and far from overweight. The sad reality is that she is headed in that direction. It was a wake-up call for both of us.
Article after article discusses how sugar, and an unbalanced diet could lead to all kinds of health risks, from diabetes to cancer. Just because those Pop tarts are organic, and the granola bars whole grain and trans fat free, doesn’t mean they are healthy.
By the time we reached home, she had outlined her new eating plan.
Scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow, instead of a toaster pastry. Perhaps moving onto oatmeal later in the week.
I have been instructed to stock up on pears, grapes and bananas, as well as cashews, carrots with dip, and the ingredients for an afternoon smoothie to be eaten as snacks or dessert.
Dinner will be a challenge, but if we focus on the foods she likes, it’s a start.
In essence, it’s time she starts eating outside of the box. Literally.
What can we offer up to the pickiest of eaters that comes from the earth, not a package? I intend to find out.
We have all heard of Meatless Monday. Perhaps we need to coin “Try it Tuesday”, “Whole Grain Wednesday” or “Thirsty Thursday”? Even a day called “F$2k It Friday” could exist, because sometimes you just to kick back and have some pizza after a long week.
Let’s see how we do. Can she change her eating habits? Can I avoid buying food in a box? Can I get creative with the foods she likes, in order to make her fresh, healthy dinners that she can enjoy? Time will tell, and I will of course tell it here.
Stay tuned, as we set out to eat outside the box.