Is There Junk Food in Your House?

A few weeks ago, my friend and her adorable son were over for a playdate.

Our husbands were hanging with the kids while the boys ate a snack, and I was enjoying a brief moment of mom-to-mom conversation with my friend.

We were talking about mealtimes and how tough it can be to get healthy foods in a picky toddler, and just as she was telling me they avoided candy, I noticed my husband approaching the kitchen table with our 2-year-old's favorite snack in hand: a brightly colored mixture of Goldfish crackers sprinkled with a few M&Ms.

I tried to catch his eye, surreptitiously drawing my finger across my throat and mouthing IXNAY ON THE OCOLATE-CHAY, but he was oblivious to my frantic gestures.

Soon all three children were chowing down on candy and "cheese"-flavored crackers, while I mumbled something about how we normally fed our kids broccoli, swear to god. 


The truth is, I'm pretty inconsistent when it comes to mealtimes. Sometimes I get worried about what they're eating (or refusing to eat) and I try stealth methods of ferrying more fruits and vegetables through their whine-holes. Sometimes I just dole out the millionth bowl of macaroni and cheese and hope the addition of a Spider-Man vitamin helps stave off the scurvy.

Both our kids are fairly resistant to new things and could happily live on pasta, applesauce, yogurt, frozen waffles, and peanut butter sandwiches. When our youngest was a baby I was positive he was going to be the adventurous eater -- he chowed on everything from pad thai to dog hair, but once he hit that mystical age of Toddler Resistance he was just like his brother: deeply suspicious of anything not formed of simple carbohydrates.

Healthy food is important to me and I often worry I'm not doing a better job of making sure my kids are eating the right things. I worry about what kinds of food choices they'll make when they're older and how much I can influence that now. I worry about all the crap that's in packaged foods and what kind of effect it might have on a small growing body.

But I also worry about fighting over food, nagging about food, insisting they finish something on their plate. Sometimes I just don't have the energy or time to put together a meal I know they won't even like. Sometimes, to be honest, it's just easier to boil a pot of noodles -- because at least I know they'll eat that.

They don't always get fish crackers and M&Ms, but they sometimes do. They don't always get a healthy meal with all food groups represented, but they sometimes do. Sometimes we eat homemade whole foods as a family, sometimes we order a big fat greasy pizza and take it to the park. I know I could be doing a better job with their diets, but I hope it mostly balances out in the end.

How about you guys? Are you strict about healthy eating for your kids, totally lax, or somewhere in the middle?

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