Sunday, December 13, 2009

Super Sunday Series - Holidays and Nutrition . . . Or Not

Welcome to Week 2 of the Super Sunday Series on HOLIDAY SURVIVAL.  Or The Basics, as I so ingeniously titled it last week.  Wit 101, people.  Buy the book.

This week's topic is nutrition and its importance during the time of all things treaty, delicious and sugary. 

***Warning*** No expert references this week.  Pure, unedited opinion only.  With a little humble pie thrown in at the end.  Reader beware. 

Last week, in the sleep post, I talked about my long held suspicion that a parent can be really vigilant about either sleep or nutrition, but not both.  Frankly, I think there's just not enough stamina in each parent to do a bang-up job with both of these, all the time.   And still have a tiny bit of life outside of shaping children's lives, that is. 

And if you are able to do both, please, please, please leave me a comment with your contact information because I will become your marketing agent as everyone (everyone I say!) needs one or the other of your services.  Either that, or I'll write the best-selling book for you.  Because I'm so witty.  ;)

So nutriton.  What can I say?  What do we even mean by nutrition? 

Is it following the food pyramids correctly?

Is it making sure refined flour and sugar aren't poisoning our bodies?

Is it eating organic?

Is it avoiding chips, soda, frieds, candy, cookies, cakes, pie, ice cream?

It's probably, kinda, sorta, all of the above, right?

Let me tell you what I don't do, so we get that out of the way right away

I don't make sure my kids eat exactly what the food pyramid tells me they should eat.

I don't withhold refined flour or sugar from them.  At all. 

I don't give them all organic, all the time.

I don't avoid chips, soda, frieds, candy, cookies, cakes, pie or ice cream.

Christalmighty!  I don't do any of the important stuff!  I told you this post would be about my nutritional failings. 

Here's what I DO DO (and I don't mean the kind of do-do that puppy of ours hopefully deposits outside rather than in):

I do make a reasonable effort to hit the food pyramid numbers.  I'm just really glad Kraft Macaroni and Cheese has things like protein and calcium or we'd be in some deep trouble.  I'm also glad fruits AND vegetables are important because my kids, they don't like much green. 

I use desserts - sugary, sweety goodness - to get them to eat their dinner.  They are eligible for some kind of dessert every night as long as they eat most/all of their food.  And I do mean most/all.  They have to earn it.   I can take minimal pride in that.  But dessert is always on the table here as an option.  It's never extravagant - like 5-10 M & M's depending upon the size of the child, but it's amazing the lengths these two will go to to eat those M & M's.

I've tried to go organic more than once.  The problem, pour moi, is not the cost, it's the inconvenience.  I have two kids.  How do you travel to 2 or 3 different grocery stores a week with two kids?  3 lists?  How do you keep up with local organic produce?  I've tried.  It's.  sooooooo.  haaaarrrrrrd. 

And after seeing Food, Inc, I did make some hard and fast rules for our family.  We do organic milk, all the time.  Organic meat, all the time.  Organic seafood, all the time.  I try to hit Whole Foods and Trader Joe's once each month.  The problem is this:  THESE PLACES DON'T CARRY DIET PEPSI.  Nor will they ever carry Diet Pepsi.  And Diet Pepsi is ohhhh, sooooo goooooooood. 

And, yes, I DO let my kids have chips, cheetos, and sometimes (gasp!) a drink of my Diet Pepsi or Fresca.  Which, really, shouldn't Fresca be illegal because of how good it is? 

And truth be told, I give them the same foods over and over to get the proper nutrients in them.  That's where I'm the worst.  I don't push them to try new foods or make one meal and they "have to eat it or go hungry."  I am the quintessential short order cook.  I make a meal for Husband and a variation for the kids.  If we're having baked chicken, I make them nuggets.  That kind of thing.  I know, KNOW this is problematic.  It causes problems now when we're out. 

And happily, happily enough, they are picky about different things.  Isn't that so completely annoying great?  Example - Oldest never met a carb she didn't like.  Seriously.  Carboholic.  Youngest won't touch 'em with a 10 foot pole.  So if I make chicken nuggets and pasta, for example, Oldest will eat like a cup or more of the pasta and then bellyache about the chicken.  Youngest will outright refuse the pasta, but eat mass quantities of the chicken.  The other night she ate EIGHT nuggets.  Oldest could barely choke down one.  Without gagging.   Which tends to happen nightly.  Youngest ended up eating Oldest's nuggets and Oldest ate Youngest's pasta.  They look out for each other that way.  God love 'em.

So there you have it - bad nutrition confessions from a slacker Mom.  In many parenting areas, I feel like I do decent, or at least good enough.  Here?  I don't know, I think I'm pretty bad, really.  I am a reformed picky eater myself - used to be just as bad as them and now eat everything I can get my grubby little paws on.  So my thought, assumption, hope is that they will grow up and be the same way. 

And I worry that I'll notice the effects of this kind of slacking later in their lives.  I worry Oldest doesn't have a lot of stamina because she doesn't get enough protein.  I worry that Youngest doesn't drink enough milk.  I worry that their teeth are going to fall out.  I.  just.  worry.  period. 

But I don't know how to change it, besides the obvious.  Be the parent and do it already.  It's changing me that I'm worried about, I guess.  I like that junk too! 

So I haven't done a very educational Super Sunday Series this week.  Unless you count educating you on my failures. 

Maybe the only lesson I can give honestly here is everything in moderation.  I do try to adhere to the moderation rule.  Especially at the holidays when there are SO many bad choices everywhere. 

So how about everyone educate ME and our fellow readers?  How do you do it?  Do you have tricks or do you just do it?  Do you juggle multiple grocery stores, trips to local markets, farmer's markets?  Do your have picky eaters kids with "selective eating needs?" 
Sock it to me.  I need it. 

Missy  :)

Red Dye #5, anyone?  Cupcakes, anyone? 
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