Feeding Frenzy

11 Sep

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.

 Feeding Frenzy

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 Frenzy

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.

 Feeding Frenzy

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.

 Feeding Frenzy

Unless Mitt Romney wins. Because once Michelle Obama has been deposed, it’s hog heaven for our nation’s kids.


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6 Responses to “Feeding Frenzy”

  1. ihopeiwinatoaster September 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    The ads on your blog today are all Wendy’s. How does that happen? I, too, struggle with good nutrition, protein is our biggest problem. Good luck.

  2. Gumboots September 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    I work on the theory that ‘hungry kids eat’, so if all they have to choose from as a snack is apples, oranges, bananas or strawberries, then they are gonna eat them… Erika is 6 and has great eating habits. Of course she loves the junk, but we dont have much trouble with her. We’ve never forced her to eat, or made her eat all her dinner, but she knows that what she gets on her plate is all she gets till bed!

    I have friends who make like 4 different meals each night! Bugger that! No kid has willingly starved themselves, they will eventually eat… Its up to us to make sure the only food to eat in the house is good stuff!

    • The Parent du Jour (@TheParentDuJour) September 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

      Totally agree with Gumboots. We’ve been putting out carrots and apples since Alice was little (she’s now nine. Nine!) and she would eat them without prompting. Still does. Let’s remember they can’t drive themselves to the 7/11. The food in the house is the food that, ultimately, goes in their mouths.

      • Dad and Buried September 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

        Well, our little guy still gets his milk with dinner, and we’re finding that if he knows he’s due that milk, he won’t eat his meal. So we’re starting to try and withhold the milk until he eats the rest, but it’s been bumpy so far…what’s extra frustrating is that we get word from the grandparents that he was eating like a champ all weekend when he was there; seems he saves his finicky behavior for Mom and Dad!

  3. tjloveless3 September 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Ah yes, the finicky years. I remember those. Wait, I am STILL dealing with those. And my youngest is 13, oldest is 43, but he doesn’t count because he is hubby.

    I used to live in the south and was constantly made fun of because I refused to allow Filly (daughter) to have pop, juices, fried foods, etc. She had water and milk. She goes through four cases of water a week. A soda maybe once a week. Loves salad. Prefers baked chicken. Won’t turn down McD’s nuggets b/c those are major Made-An-A-In-Math treats.

    Is she the perfect eater? No. Especially when we aren’t there. McD’s, Wendy’s, etc. Eats whatever her friends eat. I manage to get her to eat a couple of pears before going out with her friends in hopes it keeps those bad foods to a minimum.

    So no worries. The finicky is because you are daddy and mommy. They’ll eat mostly decent stuff until out on their own. Most of those decent habits will prevail. But don’t beat yourself up when out on their own they don’t make the best decisions. After all…we didn’t LOL

    • Dad and Buried September 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      Yeah, I was finicky for a long time and didn’t really start to appreciate food til college and after.

      I think we’ll follow a similar strategy – instill good habits at home, and position junk foods/soda/fast food as special treats. Not much you can do about the other kids, but like anything else with parenting, gotta hope your lessons stick and trust your kid.

      Besides, if he gets fat and unhealthy and he’s only hurting himself!

      Thanks for reading!

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