Let’s talk about diet. Not my diet. Good God not my diet. All you need to know is I eat a lot of sugar and a lot of Tri Tip. No, let us discuss the foods we feed our children. Why? Because our kid’s nutrition is very important for their long term growth. We can shape their future in many ways, and food is one of those ways. Plus, we can learn a lot about ourselves in the process, and that can’t possibly be a bad thing, can it? Yes, yes it can.
Full disclaimer: I am not a health doctor. I am not a food doctor. I barely even read the labels on food boxes. So any advice or recommendations I make, are to be followed solely at the peril of whomsoever shall follow said advice. You have been warned.
Breakfast: As a Stay At Home Dude I get the luxury of ensuring my daughter gets a healthy, nutritious breakfast. Remember, it is the most important meal of the day. Momma rarely gets in breakfast, unless it is a disgusting Oikos Greek Puke-gurt that she takes to work with her. So I must be the one to show Olivia what a wholesome breakfast is. Sometimes it’s Peanut Butter Crunch. Or Lucky Charms. Or Frosted Mini-Wheats. I always offer her those when I pour a bowl for myself, but she only ever wants the marshmallows. Who doesn’t, right?! No, she hasn’t found a taste for cereal yet. So when she undoubtedly refuses the yogurt I offer, she just ends up with a small bowl of Peanut Butter M&Ms. HEY! I said Peanut Butter. Protein people. Protein. She just discovered how great those Eggo French Toast sticks are, too. So quick, so easy, so yummy. Breakfast complete.
Lunch: Ah lunch. Depending on the day she may get that at around 3pm. If we go out in the morning, like to the park or the grocery store or her MyGym playtime, she almost always naps on the way back. She will sleep for a couple hours so by the time she wakes up and gets herself collected, it may be 230 or 3pm. She went through her veggie phase when she was still crawling. Nothing but peas and carrots. Even lentils sometimes. Then she went through the Mac n Cheese phase. Only Kraft, though. Not any of that fake crap. Now she is going through her chicken nugget and french fry phase. Makes things easy for daddy. Again, nuggets are chicken, chicken has protein, protein is good. Sounds legit. Lunch, check.
Dinner: This kid loves her grilling. Since she was probably about 8 or 9 months old when she tasted my BBQ ribs fresh off the grill, she has been hooked on anything cooked off a Weber. Sirloin, chicken, ribs, salmon, pork chops, and especially Tri Tip. If you grill it, she will come! Seriously, grilling makes dinner easy with a toddler. You have to get them going on it early, though. But she is hooked on it. Add in one of those powder mashed potato mixes that you make on the stove and you got yourself a full belly on that baby and she is ready for the sleep coma!
Bits and pieces: I love olives. My wife does not. Olivia loves olives. Clearly, I am her favorite parent. She also loves cheese. Shredded cheese. She likes carrots, but she only takes one bite off the top of baby carrots and then throws the rest of it on the ground. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and bananas are winners. Eating an apple is an adventure. She likes the taste but hates the skin. So she will eat an apple but spit out little tiny pieces of apple skin as she goes. I find apple skin all over the house. She will eat an entire apple this way, and now even does it to the main part of the apple as well. The other day she ate an entire apple, and spit out an entire apple all over the house over the course of like 30 minutes. That’s fun to clean up!
She has my sweet tooth and that could pose a problem. But she also has a habit of choosing healthy over bad. Heck, today we got donuts and the blackberries. We offered her the donuts and she wanted to keep eating her berries. So she knows when to choose the healthier option, and that makes me feel good.
Drink-wise, Liv loves her juice. We give her Crystal Light because it has ZERO sugar in it, so it’s pretty much flavored water. If she hasn’t gotten enough veggies, then we give her V8 Fusion. Always nice to fall back on that one. Plus she loves her chocolate milk. She won’t drink water from any of her sippy cups but she will if it comes from a plastic bottle! This kid is quirky.
The point of all this is that I use to get worked up about her diet. Was she getting enough proteins and vitamins? Was she getting too much sugar? Was she eating meals too far apart? Was she going to be too skinny? But then when you sit back and add it up after a few days, you realize just how much your kid eats. And she hasn’t slowed down so she must be getting enough, so I just stopped worrying about it.
What, then, does it say about us as parents? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you waste your money on nothing but organic and vegan foods, does it make you a better parent than the one who takes their kid to Chick-fil-A? No, of course not. Your kid will probably end up eating glue in school to get that wretched taste out of their mouths, but it doesn’t mean you’re a better parent. Are you a terrible dad for letting your kid eat ice cream for breakfast? Hell no. At least they are getting something in their system. If you know they are going to refuse to eat everything else you put in front of their face, then why make them starve just to make a point in your standoff? Obviously the more healthier options you can give, the better. But it just doesn’t always work out that way and you shouldn’t feel bad just because they eat a donut from time to time for breakfast, and lunch, and then dinner. And if you are really having trouble getting them to eat, just try Jelly Belly. They have cherry, watermelon, cantaloupe, green apple, all the healthy ones. Even purple. Purple is a fruit!
For further information on actual healthy eating habits and techniques, here are a few sites that have real credibility.