Kids' Nutrition: Eating at Me
Submitted by WhitneyMWS
When I was a kid, my mom kept a book called Thin Kids in the kitchen next to her cookbooks. It was all about keeping your kids from becoming overweight. It sounds worse than it was, but it included diet recipes and other '80s-style fad-diet tips.
Although neither my sister nor I were overweight, my mom worried because of some family obesity problems. So she was cautious or, frankly, paranoid (sorry mom!) and didn't allow many snacks in the house. Coming across a bag of cookies was like locating water in the desert: Once discovered, it was gone within a few minutes.
Growing up that way, I learned something very important: Kids want what they can't have. It's human nature. Because I couldn't have junk food, I wanted it all the time, and in a lot of ways that was a lot worse than eating it once in a while.
Now that I'm a mom, I'm trying something totally different for my kids' nutrition. In our house, food's not a big deal. Our pantry's stocked with snacks—a mix of all sorts of items—and I'm not counting calories for my kids.
Most of the time, if they ask for something, I give it to them. They rarely ask for something more than once and they typically opt for healthier snacks (cheese sticks, applesauce, cut-up apples and the like) even though we keep some sweets, too. Even during candy-crazy holidays (Easter, Halloween, Christmas) I don't have to do too much limiting of their intake. They're usually just as happy to eat cheesy broccoli as they are to eat sugar.
Can I attribute their healthy eating habits to my laid-back attitude? Maybe. Or perhaps I'm taking too much credit and that's just the way they are. But I like to think my behavior has helped. Moderation is the key, but I do worry that down the line they'll opt for junk and maybe I didn't instill enough restraint in them. Only time will tell.
Whitney Wingerd is the editor and founder of the Web site Mommieswithstyle.com.