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Friday, March 08, 2013

I was in line at the grocery store last night behind a woman whose shopping cart was overflowing with items. As I waited my turn I couldn’t help but notice that her cart was half full of Zebra Cakes, Fruit Rollups, Pop Tarts, chips, and sodas. The other half of the cart was filled with Diet Shakes, Diet powders, Diet bars, and Diet frozen meals.

At first I just blow it off as, “Well she’s got kids and she’s trying to lose weight”. But then I started thinking about that; if you’re trying to be weight and health conscious, then why are you feeding your kids that?

I don’t have kids, so I’m kinda talking out my nose, here. But I did care for my niece for over a year when she was 2 years old; so maybe that earns me a little street cred.
I remember how my mother and I tried to give her milk or water only, but she wanted sodas. We’d have to fight to keep her away from them all the time. It wasn’t easy and there were times when I seriously wanted to give her a can just to shut her up (as much as I love her). But my ex-sister in law and my middle brother did allow her to have sodas when she was with them. Now at 16 she has a Mountain Dew habit that is as bad as the Pepsi habit I just broke.

I see it so often, this double standard, that it’s ok to give your kids pop-tarts for breakfast, fruit rollups for lunch, and a soda with dinner; meanwhile Mom and Dad are eating salads and grilled fish to try and lose weight, while wishing they had the pop-tarts. Granted a pop tart is easier, faster, and well, what the kids want, more than making eggs. But if we want our kids to be healthy, then why aren’t we teaching them healthy habits when they’re little before they learn the bad ones we’re currently fighting as adults.

I remember that my eldest brother’s son didn’t know what McDonald’s was until he was around 4 years old. His parents had taken a trip and he stayed with his maternal grandparents, who took him to McDs for the first time. Until that trip, he’d never once asked to go there, he never paid attention to the commercials, but after that, he constantly hounded his parents for McDs. For the longest time, at every meal he had a crying fit for McDs.
That story always makes me think, if the kids have never had it, they’ll never want it. An apple can be candy to a kid who’s never had a fruit rollup.

I agree that a single cookie a day is perfectly fine and healthy, and eventually, every family is going to have take out pizza or fast food; but why pack candy and/or high sugar, high salt lunchables for their lunches every day? Why have candy and chips in the cupboards at all times?

I had a conversation with a woman who thought it was perfectly fine to start giving her 10 year old chores around the house. I asked her, “Why 10? Why not hand your 2 year old a dust pan and have them help with the chores?”

Granted teaching a 2 year old to hold the dustpan for you is a lot harder and time consuming then doing it yourself. But wouldn’t that condition them to do chores, during a time when they’re excited to help; rather than fighting you on it when they’re older and set in the habit of not helping?

The same with food, if the kid has been eating broccoli and brussel sprouts since they were a sprout they are probably less likely to fight you on it when they’re older. And who knows, maybe they’ll even learn to dislike Zebra Cakes and greasy chips.

Granted this is big talk from a single, childless person. I have no idea how I’d handle being a parent. And I do admire the people who do take that plunge and are raising the future. I realize no one is perfect, and we all do the best we can for our kids. It’s not an easy job. This was just a random stream of consciousness that ran through my head in line and has been bouncing around in there ever since.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I 100% agree with your post, and while I am childless, I did end up raising my ex-stepson for about 5 years of his life. He had ADHD and was high-functioning autistic, so diet was all the more important for him. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to get a child to want healthy foods when they are exposed to so much else 75% of the time, no one else wants to cooperate with you, and other adults refuse to model good behavior for their own kid.

    With him, it was particularly hard because it felt like every week my hard work was undone the moment my ex-husband would spend the evening with him or he would go to his grandparents or mother's house. Then he would be stuffed full of mountain dew, pepsi, sugary kids drinks, pizza, hot dogs, lunchables...anything they could quickly heat up and hand to him so he'd be quiet. And anytime I tried to put my foot down during a meal and say, "he either eats it or he goes hungry" my ex-husband would react like I was the evil stepmother or he would freak out that DCS would come banging down our door because the child refused to eat some carrots. It also didn't help that my ex-husband would turn his nose up at the same healthy stuff I was trying to get my stepson to eat.

    I do miss my stepson, but I can honestly say I don't miss that constant battle with food. You are much more likely to be successful at eating healthy if you can get all of your family on board as well.
    1710 days ago
  • FISHER011
    Good points! I was a not so health conscious mom when my kids were going up & all but 1 eats healthy.The 1 son who is 20 lives with his dad & their basics are pepsi, pizza & more pepsi & fast food. My son does like crystal light & water-so I'm still holding out hope.
    As we grow older we make our own choices & I'm glad my children make better choices for themselves.
    Isn't it fun to look at what people have in their shopping carts? emoticon
    1711 days ago
    You're right, it's not easy. But you're also right in that it's much easier to START OUT teaching your kids the right way to eat (and behave, and help out around the house) from the get-go rather than wait. By then it's too late!

    So far my son hasn't developned much of a sweet tooth, but he's only 20 months old! He does like ice cream, but we only have that occasionally. He likes fruit, avocado, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans... we're working on broccoli, LOL.

    I think about other people's grocery carts too. You can't help it when you're stuck in line. Anyway, I think you're spot on about sodas and junk. I wish people wouldn't start their children out that way! There's enough pressure out there to eat that stuff as they get older!
    1715 days ago
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