Mom Confession: I Feed My Kids Hot Dogs But I Eat Healthfully

Rant 27

hot dogI grew up eating bologna sandwiches but now that my thinking about food has evolved -- thank you Fast Food Nation, Morgan Spurlock and Michael Pollan -- I can't even look at a hot dog or a chicken finger. Still, both are often in my shopping cart because they are among the few items my 6-year-old daughters will consistently eat.

Same with sugar. I have read countless articles about how sugar, not fat, is the root of all nutritional evil and my kids eat ice cream or some kind of dessert every night.

They are skinny kids. This is not about weight (for now). But I find myself having a crisis of conscience about the fact that I have different standards for my food than I do for theirs.

I'm not exactly sure how my girls got such a narrow palette but I think there's a chicken and egg situation going on with their pickiness and my reliance on giving them what I know they'll eat. They don't eat much. And their not eating would make me panic.

To be fair, they eat some vegetables and fruits, it's just that there are not many. When they were babies, ironically, they used to be far more freewheeling. They ate avocado, berries, tofu, roast turkey, hard boiled eggs. Now, when I make eggs -- my favorite food -- they run from the kitchen and say they can't stand the smell.

Forcing them always backfires. They shut down and won't eat anything. There are tears. A friend once told me when her kids refused to eat broccoli she fed them only broccoli for days until they caved. Part of me was impressed, but I'm sensitive to making the whole thing into a trauma. How do you impart the concept of healthy eating without making food an "issue"?

I try to take them with me to the grocery store and we talk about what's what. They know soda is not good for you and that foods with chemicals and a long list of ingredients that sound scientific are not healthy choices. We joined a CSA to try new vegetables. I got a NutriBullet -- that high speed blender from the infomercials -- to make smoothies. My daughter agreed to sample my favorite (frozen blueberries, avocado, kale + coconut milk) but gave up after one sip.

I realized presentation allows for some opportunity. My younger one will try new things if they're on my plate not hers. She'll pick at my chicken with garlic and onions, pluck the tomatoes and cucumbers out of my salad. If she likes it, my dinner is all gone. (Curiously, if I give her the same things a week later and remind her that she liked it when I had it, we're back to square one.)

Breakfast has proven to be the most challenging meal of all. To get some protein into my girls on a school day, my husband has become a master of short order French toast. But then they wash it down with a that sugary drinkable yogurt they love -- basically a milk shake -- and I feel partially defeated.

Now and then, though, I do sense progress. Yesterday one of them announced that it was a big day at school. I expected to hear about an art project or the giant train station they'd set up in her classroom. Not so. "I tried cabbage, Mama!" she said super proud, "And I liked it! You should try some."

Do you ever feed you children something you regret?

Image via doobybrain/Flickr

food, kid health, kids nutrition


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

B1Bomber B1Bomber

Food was never a big deal at our house. We had to try everything on our plate, but if we didn't like it, we didn't have to eat it. We never had to "clean our plates," though we only got dessert if we finished dinner. We weren't allowed to be rude, though - no "eewww!" or "gross!" just "no thanks" or "I don't care for that."

I went through a picky phase, but now I eat everything but seafood, cabbage, and canteloupe.

zombi... zombiemommy916

I once hid baby octopus in my kid's spaghetti...but that was more for novelty...I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with food so I don't believe torturing them with okra will help things...thankfully, they have a pretty well-rounded 7yo son LOVES sushi and demolishes vegetables in any form...My 10yo daughter is not as adventurous but she tries new things I offer her and whether she likes them or not, I don't put much stock in change so quickly and palettes evolve with long as they're not eating processed foods and obscene amounts of sugar everyday, I don't sweat it...

Sirena Robinson

My daughter eats veggies more than I do. She loves fruit, and generally hates anything that isn't in its natural form. She won't touch chocolate pudding and hates most sweets(other than peanut butter cake pops). She doesn't eat a ton of meat, and pasta is her favorite thing ever. I sometimes feel bad feeding her the occasional chicken nuggets, but then I watch her demolish a whole can of green beans and I feel better. She eats eggplant, beets, broccoli and loves them. I really do credit it to making her baby food and introducing veggies first.

youth... youthfulsoul

I have a 2 yr old who sounds just like your kids. He pretty much eats about 5 foods and that it. Of course at daycare he has a well balanced diet and eats what he's given, probably because all the other kids are eating too.

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

Maybe I'm a hard ass, but my kids aren't allowed to be picky. In my house, eat it, or go with out. I already have to make 2 meals since I'm a vegan, my family is not. So you don't get to say You don't like it, when I know you do.

Rebecca Peterson

At my house, I make one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner. My oldest isn't much for eating. She'll ask for a food, I'll make it then she'll throw a fit about how much she hates it. Well, too bad for her. She has 2 options, eat the meal at the next meal time, with no snacks in between, or not get down from the table until she eats.

Rosas... RosasMummy

Healthfully? Seriously. Healthily.

nonmember avatar ago

Oh my goodness - that sounds exactly like my 2 daughters! I try to give them healthful options but we have probably a 10% success rate. I do buy nitrate free hotdogs and deli meat and I feel like that's a small healthier choice. I feel your pain! You aren't alone!

Rootbear Rootbear

I figured things out through trial and error. Also, a big mistake I used to make was asking "what do you want for supper?" as opposed to just making supper and being done with it. I would also ask "do you like steak this week? what about salad?" and every option was met with a big NO. Finally I just got sick of it and made whatever for supper. I'm not about to try and force feed a 6 year old something weird. But most of the time she eats what we eat or she goes without.

Chrissi Dunning

There is only one major rule about food in our have to try it befor you tell me you don't like it. I get the occasionable questionable look from my 8 year old daughter but she always takes at least one bite.  She's usually surprised that it actually tastes good! If she tries it and really doesn't like it, her options are to not eat, or to make a sandwich herself. I cook one meal, and one meal only! I have a 2 year old that is a little more difficult but I am finding new ways to get him to eat new things. The most successful trick has been letting him help me make dinner. Obviously he cant do that much but there are a few things that are safe for him to do...he helps me pour things from measuring cups into bowls or pots, he gets me vegetables from the fridge, and he helps me stir things in bowls, not pots or pans. He gets so excited that he helped make something that when it's done, he can't wait to eat it!

1-10 of 27 comments 123 Last