Once again I am stressing about what my kids are eating. Believe it or not though, I have seriously loosened up A LOT about what they consume.
I think about the diet Big A ate for the first year of her life and I laugh comparing it to what she and Little A eat now.
While you might think I am too restrictive with them at home, I really am not. In fact, I bet there are many parents out there who would think I could be doing a much better job of feeding my kids.
The number one concern I have is that they get too much sugar. Sure I don't buy candy or oreos or chocolate bars for them. But they do get a lot of that crap at school, daycare, birthday parties and friend's houses. They also get lots of treats at their grandparents' and great-grandparents house, including store bought cakes, cupcakes, ice cream, etc. And I do buy a lot of what I consider to be "healthier junk food". Things like organic, whole grain cookies (they are still cookies!), whole grain sweetened breakfast cereals, fruit-sweetened gummies, and dried fruit snacks, all of which are high in sugar, whether it's "fruit" sugar or not.
Of course, the most obvious question is, why do I buy these things then? The answer is: I am a lazy parent. Nutrition experts constantly warn about using food as a bribe or reward, that it works in the short-term, but can lead to long-term problems. I know this. But at my weakest moments when I am feeling tired and overwhelmed, I JUST DON'T CARE. If it takes a few handfuls of fruit gummies to quiet down two screaming girls in the car, so be it.
I do still attempt to encourage healthy eating. For example, I have to pack a snack for Big A for JK every day. While other parents pack their kids processed crackers, cookies and other stuff, I only allow fresh fruit, or occasionally cheese strings and organic raisins.
Unfortunately, over the past few months I have discovered that Big A's generous friends have all been sharing their snacks with her, which explains why the fruit ends up frequently coming home uneaten.
The other day, one of her best friend's mothers mentioned to me that her daughter was often coming home hungry because her friends, including Big A, were sharing all her snacks. In addition, Big A asked her to suggest to me that that I buy her some of these yummy treats, which she did. I tried to explain that Big A is a bit of a junk-food junkie, and that the only way I can get her to snack on fruit, is if it is her only option.
Nevertheless, I realize the futility of my school snack rule if she isn't even EATING the fruit. Actually, she does often eat it on the way home from school, if she is hungry, and interestingly, if Little A or one of her friends wants to eat some fruit I have packed, she suddenly will have to have some too.
Finally, after weeks of begging me to buy her some "Bear Paws", I gave in. It made me cringe to purchase these refined flour and sugar laden pieces of crap that all her friends bring to school daily. Grr! Is it possible that other kids' parents can be a bad influence?
Adam and I discussed letting her bring them once a week or something like that, but to my surprise, she decided she wanted them as her snack just once: next Wednesday, which is her last day of school.
Okay, that's a reasonable deal!