A few weeks ago, I opened the pantry after my husband had gone to the grocery store for the weekly goods. There was a brightly colored box that caught my eye, and as I peered closer, I saw this (cue "Psycho" music):
Now, let me give you a little background. I tend to be a little militant about my kids' eating habits. Probably not as hard- core as most, but my kids have never set foot into McDonald's and know all about the dangers of HFCS and the chemicals found in many foods. Yes, I let them eat the occasional doughnut or whatever. I'm not perfect. I'm also not one of those annoying people who is trying to brag about what their kids do or don't eat. BUT I have NEVER bought Apple Jacks before and I almost passed out when I saw it there in my pantry.
(Bloodcurling scream) "TOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYY!!!!"
"What the (explicative) is this?!"
"It's Apple Jacks."
"I can clearly see that. What is it doing here?!"
"Lily wanted to try it."
I won't completely re-hash the entire conversation, but we did have a pretty interesting talk about the power of choice in our household. It really boiled down to this: Did you have that friend in high school who never drank or did anything like that, then the minute they got to college, they went balls out and were drunk every night until Christmas? The same thing can happen with kids and food. I'm sure this isn't a news flash, right?
Tommy feels like our kids need to begin to satisfy their curiosity (to an extent of course) so that as they are beginning to make their own food choices, they will know what makes their bodies feel good and what makes them have a monstrous stomachache so that they won't go balls out at a slumber party or out with their friends. That just because the box has a character on the front doesn't mean it tastes good. That there is a reason why we don't eat this or that. It doesn't make us feel very good.
The frustrating thing about kids is that they don't believe you until they try it! AAAgghhh.
Tommy: "Don't worry Katherine, I bet she'll try it a few times and won't even like it."
Me: (huge eye roll)
Well, you know what? He was right. She tried it once or twice and was actually a little appalled that the cereal was plutonium-green. The box just sat in there for a week or so and Tommy finally threw it away. I hate it when he's right!
I know we can help our kids learn to make good food choices without making them resort to hiding twinkies under their beds. But it will take some relinquishing of control, lots and lots of conversation, an emphasis on home-cooked family dinners, some trial and error, and, gulp, possibly the inevitable trip to the Golden Arches.
Speaking of nutrition: don't forget about the L1 Nutrition meeting tonight at 7pm at the Burnet loc!