Thursday, January 13, 2011

Food Issues?

So, my deep thought of the day is...when do food issues/obsessions really start? 

Why, you ask?  Well, my little girl -- all of 23 months -- has a little food obsession. I realized it tonight when we were reading Pinkalicious and before I even got through the first page, she kept telling me "dinner" and "eat." I realized she wanted me to flip directly to the page showing the family eating dinner. We never made it to another page. And, when we read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", the only page she wants to see, is the one with all the junk food on it.  When she gets hurt, she cries for "nem a nems" (the M&M look-a-likes we keep for occasional treats) and could survive on jelly (which she cleverly licks off of the whole grain bread) and dippin' sauce (BBQ sauce, but hey, at least I buy the kind sweetened with Agave!).  She gets giddy at the mere thought of dessert and will eat just about anything if that means she can get something sweet at the end of a meal.  And, anytime the word birthday is mentioned, she just looks at us and says, "cake?"

Stop rolling your eyes will you.  I know she is so little -- but I can't help but get a little twinge of worry.  I never, ever want her to have to deal with food issues or, worse, be like me...spend her days preaching to her family about the merits of healthy living, while having difficulties doing so for herself.

I get nervous that my desire to keep my family safe by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and far from chemically-laden and over-processed foods will backfire and instead I'll drive them into having a unhealthy relationship with junk food.  I've tried to keep my obsession with every morsel of food that touches their lips in the "normal" ranges, but I can't deny that sometimes I get a little loony-toony about the whole thing.  I think I strike a good balance between making healthy choices a majority of the time with letting them just be kids -- but maybe not?

And, more than anything, as hard as it is to admit, this is my issue, one I deeply don't want to pass on to my daughter.  For as far back as I can remember, food (normally not the most nutritious) has always been something I get excited about, remember, plan for and my source of comfort. 

So, yet it is possible that this obsession could manifest into her becoming a world-renowned chef.  But, I think the lesson here is that while I could continue down my comfortable path of hypocrisy it would be better for me to realize that it's my job to be a better role model, get healthy for her, show her that food is a joy and wonderful, but there needs to be a healthy balance and, gulp, show her that exercise can be fun. 

Boy, do I have my work cut out for me!


  1. Here's advice from a non-parent... don't teach any of your kids the word "exercise"... teach them the word "play". I feel like the minute you start saying things like "I went to the park and got a lot of exercise" is the beginning of the end.... there was an age when we played after school, and we played ball, and hide and go seek, and it was never to burn calories. We went to the beach to swim, and went for bike rides... and it seems the more we thought about things as exercise, the more we didn't exercise... or play...

  2. Oh, and the food issue... loving food isn't an issue, but we certainly make it an issue. You might have a food network top chef on your hands! Dani and I always talk about how our friends that grew up with the most junk good in their house, ended up the most fit and healthy. It's the whole idea of not making things a big deal. I think if they specifically ask for a certain junk food, you should oblige... but keep doing what you're doing, being mindful of the what you put in the house and what you cook for them. When they're older, you can explain why certain foods are healthy and what ingredients to look for... by the way, bbq sauce with agave? sounds so delish!

  3. Riss -- the BBQ Sauce is Organicville Original. We love their stuff (spaghetti sauce too!) for the kids! Here is a link... Thanks for your good advice, as always!