Here lately it seems a girl can’t turn around without someone putting
Balance & education are key
in their two cents regarding how we should all be feeding our kids and how anything less than that is tantamount to child abuse.
If you are looking for an article like that, STOP, boy have you fallen down the wrong internet rabbit hole. There are no such instructions on this entire blog.
Okay, back to the rest of us is this Village where we educate ourselves, swap advice, info, and also silliness. As many of you know one of my (many) pet peeves is people with holier than thou attitudes (and little other qualifiers, often) telling me what to do with my kids. I am going to leave that statement right there, standing on its own because it is probably the opening line for a whole different post I will write later (probably when angry at one of those people). I get really tired of the constant nutrition-based craziness I hear/read/etc all the time it feels like. There are the parents whining that McDonald’s is bad for their kids but advertising to them and how the government should step in and stop them, which I think should now be known as anti-parenting (defining statement of such a character: I, as the person claiming to be the parent of this child, am not able to care for them and/or set reasonable limits, and therefore choose to demand that my government/doctors/the school system/corporate America do the parenting for me. )There are the celebrities, with no medical training, who are offering Nutrition Guidelines. There are idiots wandering around wanting to make blanket laws/policies regarding what Americans can buy in a grocery store. There are Faux Scientists (these are the ones getting paid by corporations to attach their name and it’s credentials to skewed studies) trying to scare the hell out of us, or conversely, sweeping dangerous shit under big corporate rugs. So what should we do? As parents, what can we do? Educate ourselves, do the research, check the research, talk to your Pediatrician about your unique children. A lot of parents I know do that, but then we forget the next step. Teach your kids. I have said it before, I feel like a big part of my job as a mom is to raise my kids, you know, out of babyhood, through childhood and teen years and on to be happy self-sufficient adults. Adults who need to understand nutrition basics. We all talk about this epidemic of childhood & adult obesity (and I have seen the children and adults) but here’s the thing; not all of our kids are obese, some of them are underweight. I’m not referring to children whose parents cannot feed them regular meals. I have a child whose pediatrician has him on a diet that includes suggestions like “if you can add peanut butter, butter, or dressing to it, do that”. He is the thinnest child in my house. He still drinks (brace yourself for it) 2% milk (the rest of us drink skim, we are not underweight, but no one in my house has ever been close to overweight either), he’s 12. He has been on this diet (using the dictionary definition of the word here) since he was 2, under the monitoring of his pediatrician. He is the reason that I know, for sure, that one meal plan for all can’t work, shouldn’t work.
Every Saturday RedBird, K-man, BoyChild II, and I run errands. We go to roughly 2 different grocery stores each Saturday. We spend a lot of time discussing, debating, and reading labels. The boys (particularly BoyChild II) ask questions about what we are doing, so we explain it to them. We call it Flipping the Box. It goes something like this:
Mom, can I have this? (holding up some brightly colored box of cereal)
I don’t know, Flip the Box and see.
(Turning box) Well, it has 12 grams of protein per serving… ohh, (face falls) I see sugar and 3 “oses” in the list. (Puts box back on shelf) Maybe this one? (moved on to another box)
That’s kinda my point, no tantrum, no whining, he understands what he read (sugars end in ose most of the time– he calls them sneaky sugars, & he’s right) and why that was too much. He is seven and knows that an occasional cookie or whatever is fine, but not for breakfast. He asks for help, cause he’s seven, but he has been given the tools to figure it out himself. Now am I telling you he doesn’t pick up the box of Froot Loops “Just to check”, like maybe that sugary, food dyed, candy masquerading as breakfast got all healthy on us since last Saturday? (it hasn’t) He is seven, after all, he also buys in to the marketing schemes, which brings us full circle. He gets confused, “but it says whole-grains. Those are good, right?” or “They said balanced breakfast. Aren’t we supposed to eat balanced all day?” and so on. This does not, however make me mad at the commercial, it’s an opportunity to teach him how to understand what they are and aren’t saying. To teach him what the hell all of those health food catch phrases really mean. I found a great article here that lists the biggies and explains them really well. He can learn it, not cause his mom is some sort of super smart nutrition guru, or because he’s so exceptionally bright (no that he’s not a smart kid, calm down), he learned just like his SN brother and his sister did (and continue to do so) I take the time to learn the facts and then to teach them. Going to the grocery store is something that becomes a hugely important learning tool. I know I learn better by doing, my kids do too. If you would like some handy resources check out the links I have attached below.
Pocket Guide for Portion Sizing
How to Read Nutrition Labels
16 Misleading Food Phrases
12 Confusing Foods
Another Article about Evil Parents, not Evil Junk Food
Learn it, love it, explain it.
So go shopping with the kids, drag them into the kitchen for a lesson in meal planning or just a lesson in what all that stuff on the box means. As always, talk to your doctor, do the research, and don’t blindly follow this week’s trends with your kid’s bodies.
*A note of warning: Following this advise can have the side effect of your children being VERY judgey when they catch you eating out of your junk food stash at 11pm when you think they are asleep. (don’t act all innocent, like I’m the only one) 😉 *