It’s so much easier to be fat.
Okay, maybe it’s not easier to actually BE fat. But it’s definitely easier to GET fat.
And it’s a definitely piece of cake (or three) to let your kids get fat. Feeding them is headache enough even when it’s food they like, but you start putting nutrition into the mix and it becomes [insert hilarious Hunger Games reference here].
It’s so much easier to just let him have the damn french fries again.
Last week, on the train back from Philadelphia (read about our visit to Sesame Place), the kid finally had his first taste McDonald’s. We only gave him a few fries – which we all know are the best thing about McDonald’s (unless you’re my one friend who has eaten everything off their menu and swears by the fajita. Yeah, right, a fast food fajita from Mickey D’s! Okay, psycho!) – but the fries were enough.
Needless to say, he loved them. Shocker! (I feel like he’s finally an American citizen. Well, almost; he won’t really be American until he says something derogatory about the French. But he’s close.)
Before you call Michelle Obama on me, we don’t make a habit of giving our kid fast food. The only time I ever have really fast food is when I’m hungover and on a road trip, so he’s not around it very often. I won’t sit here and pretend my kid is the healthiest eater in the world, but he’s never even gonna sniff Chick-Fil-A.
Feeding kids is tricky business. It’s a constant battle between the convenience of giving him something he might actually eat, even if it’s not that great for him, or attempting to force some vegetables or protein into his diet, which may result in an hour of stare-downs and tantrums until you finally put him to bed so he can wake up starving in the middle of the night.
Like most parents, when faced with this dilemma, we’ll sometimes lose the battle (give him frozen chicken nuggets or mac and cheese) in an effort to win the war (prevent him from dying of starvation/prevent us from hearing him scream from his high chair all dinner long).
The problem is, while the short-term solution is good for us (fewer headaches), it’s terrible for him (more diabetes). So we need to do better.
We already limit the junk we give him, because we don’t want to end up on “Maury” and he’s only two. But when he gets to school there’s not gonna be much we can do to prevent him from getting wind of the myriad joys of the salty and sweet stuff that dominates cafeterias. Hostess snacks and Doritos and potato chips and french fries…the list goes on and on. And so will the pounds. So we’re trying to instill healthy eating habits now.
It’s just not easy when he won’t even eat the stuff he has already proven he likes, the defiant little punk.
I get it, to an extent. I was a very picky eater as a kid, something I’ve definitely outgrown (and my son surely will too), but to this day I feel like being forced to eat certain foods has affected my palate. I still shudder in fear if I so much as sniff zucchini. I don’t want to threaten my kid into choking down a few bites of something he hates – even if he has no real idea if he hates it since he’s never deigned to try it – but if he doesn’t eat something with some green on it I am going to go berserk.
So much of parenting is about choosing your battles. Your kids are constantly testing your limits and their boundaries, so sometimes you have to relax a bit and let the small stuff slide. You can let the kid win once in a while, you just can’t let him win the important stuff.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, eating healthy is important. So it looks like the suppertime stalemate won’t be ending anytime soon.
Unless Mitt Romney wins. Because once Michelle Obama has been deposed, it’s hog heaven for our nation’s kids.