Saturday, December 15, 2007


Mr. Lady got me thinking about the food I buy for the week. Please, go over to This Post to proceed.

Soapy Water Family, Denver, USA $116.53

This, of course, is minus milk, minus the free lunches that I get through my job, and minus the random things I don't have to buy every week (like, how do you quantify the amount of mustard, ketchup, olive oil and balsamic vinegar you use in a week?), plus my shameful purchase of ingredients to make fudge, which honestly I've never done before (and then, of course, minus one major ingredient for said fudge that I somehow didn't make it home with).

But still, Damn. I spend a lot of money on food. There is also the $20 hair product I bought that I subtracted from my food total, and that without this exercise I would have never been clued in to having spent $20 on. That shit better make my hair really effing silky, that's all I'm saying.

What I really intend to say with this post: Food is an issue in this house. The Kid is incredibly involved in my choices for food. He intellectually knows what is good and what is not good for his body. His tastebuds, however, are yet to know these things. My favorite veggies, squashes, are like poison to him. He would eat cheetos for every meal if he had any choice in the matter.

When you have a kid that is healthy-food averse who also happens to have severe GERD, wonderful things happen. Lots and lots of puking. I think that the reflux is only a key in this puzzle in that the muscles needed for puking are so incredibly toned from the reflux, that the slightest gag will result in a full gastro-intestinal refusal to put certain foods into the digestive system. And so, whenever The Kid tries foods that he is grossed out by, there is often much puking.

If you wanted to create a general category of "Foods Which Make The Kid Puke" could be easily identified by the following characteristics:
1. Food is green
2. Food is naturally occurring, or at least is cultivated by humans in a natural setting and are then harvested from the earth in some form.

Ergo, getting The Kid to eat the foods that my body generally craves and that are my super favorite things in the whole world (I am so very much a vegetarian at heart), there is very little wiggle room.

It's a rough road. Over the last few months, though, I've really toed the line. I've said, Kid, you can go hungry, but tonight, we are eating ______ (insert: green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, tabbouleh, etc). This has sucked. He's been pissed at me. He has been really pissed at me. But the end result has found a number of foods he can stomach, and we can eat in peace. Among them: Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Peas.

I am still obsessed with beats, and I continue to try to convince The Kid that if he eats beats, his poop will turn purple. He has, as of today, remained both skeptical of my claim and has categorically refused to recognize that purple poop is in any way "cool." To this, I say, whatev. Purple is the best color, in whatever form it appears.

But seriously. I think I have some decent eating habits, myself. Except for the moose munch and godivas that are streaming into my office for the holidays, I actually prefer the healthy choice for food over the not-healthly. I've still got 15 pounds I'd prefer not to have, so whatever, I'm so imperfect. But still. I can blame at least 5 of those pounds on The Kid, right?

How to instill the good eating habits on children, though? When schools offer "Dominoes Pizza" for lunch, and your seven year old lectures you on the lameness on his ham sandwich and carrots in his lunch's inequities to "Dominoes Pizza" lunch days, how do you combat this? I say, "there are a lot of things out there that taste great, but our bodies are healthier with other things." This train of reasoning has failed for me.

At home, I struggle between time and intent. As a working mom, arriving at home, cooking, homework, QT, it's all muddled and over quick and needs to be easy. I'm pretty rocking at the quick, easy dinner, but still. Will he eat it? That's always the question.

It's funny, though, because it all became clear this weekend as I saw my sister is encountering the same problems from a different direction with her 11 year old daughter. My neice eats like a rabbit (heh, to Peggy, and anyone else who might get that joke). Friday night, she ate about three pieces of romaine lettuce and declared herself "full." Her brother teased her about being a "supermodel" eater. She feigned disgust at this claim. An hour later, dessert, a cheesecake w/ chocolate thing, was served. She started in wanting a piece of the cheesecake, when her mom usurped her and reminded her that if she was now hungry, she would be well served to eat some protein and other good things for her body before she went in for the dessert.

Basically, between my neice and The Kid, a great deal of what is wrong with American eating habits are personified. My neice is hyper conscious of eating right, but (at least on the night in question) starved herself of healthily filling, whole foods--we were having lasagne (and moderate portions as opposed to clean plates are encouraged around our tables)--but was willing to eat high-in-fat, high-in-calorie dessert, "as a treat." My son cannot abide real food, like, the food that really comes out of the ground or the farm and not a processing plant, and has a real (in my mind disgusting) preference towards high fructose corn syrup-laden, fake ass nasty ness such as ramen and chef boyardee and McDonalds.

I can't shy away from the fact that I've created my own monster here. He is my kid and I've fed him nasty nasty things that I never thought I'd eat regularly as an adult, like McDonalds, or Mac-n-Cheese, or Chicken Nuggets. But I resolved to stop ages ago. Like, more than a year ago, I stopped with the McDonalds (although I totally took him there once in the last year, but that was the day I got the Harry Potter book, so like, slip!, but also, more-uninterrupted-silent-reading-for-me!!!), I have been reading labels and have been anal about his coloric intake for a while now.

What to do? How to fix it? What did we eat? What did we not eat? I know I was always a gloriously non-picky eater. I still am. Part of me thinks I just got The Kid with every possible opposite personality trait from mine, with the picky eating and the social challenges, but part of me thinks that I have to work against a marketing machine that is so very much bigger than me. It's so big it's bigger than Ronald McDonald.

The end of this post? Will there ever be an end of this post? The beauty of blogging is that it is not professional. I do not need a conclusion. I am done talking about eating, and yet I am not. Please comment. Tell me what to do. Commiserate. Whatever. Just don't tell me that The Kid's eating of chicken nuggets is okay, because I disagree and will not listen to you anyway.

The end.

Ha. (sorry, weird mood).


Mr Lady said...

I have two wonderful eaters. They are natural vegetarians and love fresh over processed any day. And then i have 2of3. See your post above for details of his eating habits.

I have no clue what to do about it.

Peggy said...

I'm with Mr. Lady. We've talked at length about this stuff Molly, and I don't have a clue what to do either. I argue with C about what to eat, too - and at 14, I KNOW he recognizes what is healthy and what is not. And I'm sure I would gag if I knew what food choices he was making at the high school cafeteria. And yeah, 11 year old K does eat like a supermodel. So what possible nuggets can I provide? (Not chicken nuggets - advice nuggets. You get me.)

I guess the only good thing I've accomplished (and you have too) is that my big kids know what is healthy and what is not. I've been trying to ask them to decide for themselves if they've chosen healthy foods. I've talked at length with them about what is healthy. I give them healthy choices. They don't typically choose them. But they know the difference.

Best case scenario - they become adults who decide they prefer healthy foods. Worst case scenario - they appear on The Biggest Loser circa 2025 and act like they don't know carrots are a good snack food. But deep down, I'll know that THEY know better.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say. it's so much harder to feed a kid. Maybe breakfast for dinner more? will he eat pot pies? you can make really great ones cheap with bisquick, a can of creamy soup, frozen veggies and a meat. in a household of 2 adults we tend to spend $75 max for a weeks worth of groceries. often it's more like $50.
or you can fool him into eating good my buying that book from mrs.seinfeld. i don't like that though, because it will give him a skewed view of what is good for him.

Leslie Dillinger said...

Yeah, I was going to suggest ways of tricking him into eating well, but I sort of agree with anonymous up there: then he won't know how to make good choices about what to eat. It's interesting that he's so picky but will eat brussel sprouts. Damn. I don't know what to tell you.

Anonymous said...

Actually that book by Mrs. Seinfeld does more than trick. It incorporates fruit and vegetable purees into recipes which in turn gets a kid's taste buds to react and to change according to what he is eating. If a taste bud is never exposed to the vegetable, then apparently it will not change throughout life to learn to like other things than the high fructose corn syrup that it's used to.

The recipes in that book "hide" fruits and vegetables into great kid friendly recipes like chicken tenders, but then it's your job as a parent to continue to serve the side of brussels sprouts alongside it. The hope being that eventually throughout life the kid's buds will change througgh exposure to the healthier foods but also be trained to know that the healthy serving of vegetables on his plate is what's good for him, even if he doesn't eat them now.

Can't hurt to try.

Anonymous said...

This book is getting all sorts of positive reviews.

Jenna Obee, your personal information specialist.

Diane said...

I still need to do this too.

I think half the battle is to keep trying. We eat well most of the time, but we all have our moments. Harley doesn't feel it's a proper meal unless fries are included with a meal.

School lunches are a constant debate in our home too, but he's never happy when I pack his lunch as it's too healthy.

I've been debating on getting that book too, but I don't know that I have that kind of time and energy to plan in such detail what we eat every week.

Hiding healthier choices should work for Harley.

wrongshoes said...

I know I'm reading older posts so this may not be relevant any longer, but thought I'd pass along this article, which I thought was interesting: 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make