Lately, I’ve felt this guilt about my children’s relationship with food. I feel that I’ve made things too easy, too comfortable. I’ve slacked off in providing healthier meals. They’ve become pickier. Sometime they seem less grateful about the time and energy I’ve put into preparing food. I’ve heard whining and negotiating at the table. In order to get dessert you only have to eat your vegetables in our home. Then we went over to a friends house for dinner. Our boys hardly ate anything. They were polite, but still very picky about al the healthy nutritious food offered. Humbling. I do know that we all prefer different foods and that food is a way for them to express autonomy in the power of their choices. I also know that as a parent is my responsibility to discipline, to teach, them to make healthy choices and build a healthy relationship with food.
I started to feel guilty because we use to be better about including our kids in the grocery shopping, meal preparation and serving dinner/ clean-up. It seems that during adding another child to our family, our relocation from Rhode Island, while living in a small apartment waiting for our house to be built we started to slack off on teaching those healthy choices. I starred making somewhat healthy choices that needed minimal preparation and in the midst of having a newborn and school homework and activities, I started included the children less in helping me make meals. Yikes! I must fall back on better food habits with them.
Randomly I came across this TED talk on YouTube. Thank you Jamie Oliver for some great reminders. I gently talked with my sons about our slip from healthier food choice grace, and we talked about how I needed their help in preparing healthy meals especially for dinner. I told them I wanted them to rotate helping me with dinner preparation, one would help me that night and the other would help me the next evening and we would continue the pattern. The child who didn’t help prepare dinner would help their father with loading the dishes that evening. We brainstormed about meals plans, the grocery list and that they get to choose the meal, we eat the “rainbow” and I want more grateful ness from everyone about the time and resources healthy food costs.
Our youngest son prepared cod baked in butter, sautéed carrots and cauliflower and Mexican rice for dinner. G was precious and determined donning his chef apron while rinsing vegetables, peeling carrots, cutting cauliflower, melting butter, putting foil in a pan, measuring ingredients for Mexican rice, etc. There were minimal complaints from our oldest son about the cod, everyone else liked their meal. Our youngest seemed very proud about his finished product and our praise for all his help.
I’m hoping these small, yet big, changes will help us all have a healthier and stronger connection with food.