Keepin' it real · Kids · what's cookin'

Day 225: Balanced

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”
-source unknown, because I’m too lazy to look it up.

I like to think we eat fairly well in this house. Mr. December and I try to steer the kids clear of sugary snacks (granola bars are just as bad as cookies,) we eat dinner together pretty much every night, there are always fruits and vegetables on offer. We’re not so healthy that we eat freekeh and tempeh and drink kombucha, but we eat home-cooked meals, which I’ve heard might not be the norm these days (then again, it might be. I don’t know.)

Take tonight’s dinner, for example: bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and black beans, rice, grilled chicken breast, roast cauliflower, and spinach salad. A nice balanced, meal. Right? Wrong, for at least half of my family.

I mean, it could be balanced, if you put me and Mr. December on one side of the scale and everybody else on the other. See, Mr. December and I ate a little of everything on the table, except the rice. Three out of four children ate rice. That’s it. Just rice.

I’ve heard the advice that our job as parents is to put good, healthy food on the table, and their job as kids is to choose what to eat. So far, so good. I’ve also heard that a child won’t let themselves starve. Interestingly, our girls won’t—but N will. He’ll just not eat until he can sneak into the pantry for a slice of bread. Or until we serve schnitzel, which is his favourite food; then he’ll eat piles of the stuff as if he’s storing it up for hibernation.

We’ve tried the old “eat your vegetables or you don’t get any treats,” which only works to a point: he eats a whole English cucumber every single time. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell him that cucumbers are just water and vitamin C, cucumber is his go-to vegetable.

Where does this leave us? I’m trying very hard to teach my kids to listen to their bodies, and I’m trying very hard not to police their food choices. That’s how my son has ended up on the all-carb diet. What’s a parent to do?

2 thoughts on “Day 225: Balanced

  1. ??serve each child plate with 1 onehalf teaspoon of each food. (Yes, TINY sample) when they have eaten that they can have more of what ever? I believe the theory behind this is it takes lots of tasting a food to accept it and a onehalf teaspoon full of any food, even if disliked is possible in one swallow. The other theory I am familiar with is to watch for signs of nuitritional deficits and be certain each child has a multi-vitamin every day, and let them eat whatever they wish of what you buy at meal time only. This theory says kids grow up and eat a wider variety of foods naturally if they see others doing this. Neither theory is fool proof and some people are simply always picky. Sometimes it is texture not taste.
    GOOD WISHES. This is one of the joys of not actively raising young children myself any more… As a proof of hope the child who only ate steamed white rice at a chinese restaurant, with a peanut butter chaser on returning home, today only draws the line at whole monkey eyeballs and even quaffed grubs when faced with social necessity.
    Hold on. Don’t engage without real reason to believe you can win…. even 1/2 tsp amounts.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH. You are a wonderful stress grounding help.

  2. My only comment is to say (at least in some cases) it does get better. I have a child who wouldn’t eat anything mixed together. If we had any kind of casserole, stir fry or any such thing, they needed their food in separate piles created probably before everything was cooked. And yet now they are much more adventurous in what they eat. My husband was the same way. He lived for years on PB&J sandwiches. Wouldn’t even eat traditional Thanksgiving meal, and yet now eats all the things. Try and make something at a meal that a child will eat. Our rule is you have to try it, and I’m not going to make you anything else.

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