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Kid Food Choices: Will They Make the Right Ones?

Kid Food Choices

Growing up, the garden was somewhat family-cultural; it was an overflow of the psychological “make-do or do-without” mindset of both my parents, who came from poor, Midwestern backgrounds.  It wasn’t because it was healthy; it was just a past-time and the way to secure access to green tomatoes for frying.  Still, my favorite childhood food memories were the watermelon seed-spitting contests off the porch, stealing strawberries straight from the patch, measuring my height against the corn, and the fresh onions we kept in a glass of water on the table for any passerby to grab and munch.

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Group Snacks: When the Cool Mom Crowd Causes Compromise

Group Snacks

Group Snacks: When the Cool Mom Crowd Causes Compromise

(& Why I Won’t Next Time)

Group Snacks

 

Have you ever provided, exclusively, the group snack for the team, for the club, or school party?  I mean, have you been the only one bringing food to a gaggle of children? 

In most cases, we attend gatherings where everyone brings something, and so we feel free to take food that we will personally eat as a family—in fact, we feel required to do so since it’s likely that my corn-allergic kid will only be able to eat what I personally bring.  I figure, with other options available they can take it or leave it, and I really don’t care.  They can wrinkle their nose and I can feel all the pious-pity for them that I want, declaring that they do not understand real food and are the truly unfortunate ones.  Then, when the parents like it and ask for the recipe, I can simultaneously indulge in that  praise even while feeling sorry for those who don’t understand real food.

Okay, I’m not as bad as all that.  At least, I never let on that I’m not as bad as all that. 

 

It was our week to bring the team snack to the soccer game.  I spent 2 weeks  making a complete issue out of a non-issue.  Yes, I’m that mom.   All of the snacks thus far have been pre-packaged, nothing homemade.  Is this the social protocol? Is there room for homemade snacks on the soccer field?  I felt pressure to get this right and still hold to my values.

You see, food for me is a moral issue.    I placed pressure upon myself to find something:  1)prepackaged in portion size, 2) appetizing/appealing to 2nd graders, 3) non-gmo and healthy, and 4) affordable enough to feed the entire team.

To quote the Princess’ Bride, “I don’t believe they exist.” 

I was shocked when my husband found prepackaged baby carrots in the same container that those fake-cheese & crackers come, but in the cheese section was ranch dressing.  Okay, I can do this, I thought.  Sure, the ranch dressing had all kinds of stuff we don’t eat.  I really felt like I was compromising for the sake of imagined peer pressure, but I was willing to do it to keep my kid from feeling  like he had “that mom.”

He’s going to have a lot of that in years to come. 

The game was close, we lost by one, hands were slapped in typical good-game fashion, and they made a run straight for me.  Snack Mom.  One by one, “no thank you.”  They were polite, but only the moms took the snacks, not a single kid of his own volition accepted.

Perhaps this falls into the category of “First World Problems”…okay, it totally does.  There is, however, a deeper, more sensitive issue at play: when every lifestyle choice you make is deliberate and you are forever getting strange looks and probing questions from others, sometimes you lack the strength to do it again.   I can answer for my own weirdness all day long, but I do not want my kids to be forced into answering for it.

Those who have been reading this blog over the last three years know I have a bad habit of shrinking myself (previous occupational hazard), and this is the question I ultimately have to ask…which moral stance has the greater value: eating ethical food that is healthy and nutritious, or keeping my kid from a potential sideways glance from another child?

My children are healthy and strong inside and out.  Next time, I won’t compromise:

*I won’t because if these kids are going to see these ethics as valuable, they must see them as consistent , first.

*I won’t compromise because part of being a caring adult means that I would not feed someone else’s child food that I know is unhealthy—regardless of their parents’ own decisions on the matter.

*I won’t compromise because if my kid does get that snicker or sideways glance, it’s a monitored learning tool that we can utilize to guide family discussions towards things like leadership, handling peer pressure, resilience, and standing up for what is right.

 

And so, next time, I think I’ll follow the lead from other moms who have had this First World Problem, and conquer it with homemade gelatin.  Here are some suggestions:

*Best post ever on homemade granola treats:

30 Recipes for Granola

Here is a place I can go to when I’m feeling weak (and a place to send other moms who need the encouragement to keep consistency): https://www.facebook.com/spoonfedblog.net
These homemade fruit snacks look irresistable!

Homemade Fruit Snacks

 

AnnMarie Rossi is an expert at this sort of thing, and so I’ll point you to her work on the Untrained Housewife, like her healthy cookie dough bars, for instance.

Healthy Cookie Dough Bars

 

Yup, that’s all I got…but what is your go-to snack for group snack duty? 

 

Comments:

Rebecca | LettersFromSunnybrook.com

posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 4:06:25 PM America/Denver

Oh, that’s a tough situation! I have corn allergy as well and cannot eat any prepackaged or processed foods. While I try to get my family to eat more from-scratch, healthy food, I feel I am competing with all the “fun, more interesting” foods they are bombarded with in advertising. My son’s 14th birthday is coming up and I suggested that I could make homemade pizzas or tacos for him and his friends. He said, “Mom, I really like your pizza best, but I’m not sure my friends will know how to appreciate it the same way, so I think we should get it from Pizza Hut.” I was glad he was honest and able to express himself. So, for his party I will cough up what I see as a lot of money on someone else’s pizza so he can fit in with his new friends. Other times I will serve my homemade food. It is a tough call though.You know exactly what I’m talking about! First of all, serious props for raising such a mature kid, that he can express himself clearly yet gently. And he’s probably right–his friends won’t know how to fully appreciate it.As an aside, and in the light of compromise (which this entire blog is saying I won’t do)…we did discover that this a corn-free option at Papa Murphy’s (the take-and-bake)…you will have to check their online menu, but you can get the alternate crust and sauce to make it completely corn-free. We discovered this while we were on vacation at someone’s home who was ordering pizza. So yeah, there are just times we have to make the best of the situation. Thanks for the comment!

Marcia Little

posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 2:01:16 PM America/Denver

I make homemade granola cereal, granola bars, and fruit and grain bars. My whole family chows down on them, and I know what went in them.Marcia, great example–we love the idea.  We were half tempted to do just that, but fear of Urban Myths drives “the standard” which seems to be individually packaged portion sized serving.  Kinda the same standard for Halloween candy, if it looks homemade there is a 0.0002% chance of a razor blade being in the apple, so throw it away.  But, I do love the idea.-Wilson

Libby Kuhlmann

posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 9:57:42 PM America/Denver

When my youngest daughter was in Brownie and Girl Scouts – years ago, I’m a granny now 🙂 – I found the one thing that was absolutely irresistible to the girls and it was something that they all looked forward to when it was my turn for snacks – once a month on a rotating basis. I would make a turkey sized platter of cut up veggies with a couple of bowls of homemade ranch dressing. It was always a big hit and there was never one bite, or even a sliver of vegetable, left on the platter and most of the time the bowls would be “wiped” clean of dressing and no matter how much I piled on the tray I was usually asked if I had more to share. When she was older and playing softball, I did the same thing with the vegetable tray and it still was a treat for the girls and I never returned home with anything but an empty tray and bowls. It seems I was the only mother who brought this for a snack and it turned out to be something the girls really liked and always looked forward to Crystal’s mom bringing the “good stuff.” Just an idea someone might like for a daughter in sports or Scouts. I doubt this would go over with a bunch of ruff and tumble boys (it wasn’t too popular with most of the boys when my sons played ball, but I had to try, but my sons loved it) but it most likely would be a hit with the girls.

Sheila

posted on Thursday, October 2, 2014 5:47:44 AM America/Denver

First I’d like to say, my daughter made fun of me a little for insisting on buying normal, healthy, organic food. Yes, they are more expensive but well worth it. She told me yesterday that since she has been going to farmers market, buying organic foods, eating less processed foods and drinking whole, unprocessed milk, she feels a lot better. Score one for Mom. As far as Halloween, I wanted to make wholesome treats too, but the way it is now it’s no longer accepted. I had out the fruit tummies made from fruit with no additives.

Sheila

posted on Thursday, October 2, 2014 5:48:52 AM America/Denver

First I’d like to say, my daughter made fun of me a little for insisting on buying normal, healthy, organic food. Yes, they are more expensive but well worth it. She told me yesterday that since she has been going to farmers market, buying organic foods, eating less processed foods and drinking whole, unprocessed milk, she feels a lot better. Score one for Mom. As far as Halloween, I wanted to make wholesome treats too, but the way it is now it’s no longer accepted. I had out the fruit tummies made from fruit with no additives.

Heidi @ PintSizeFarm

posted on Friday, October 3, 2014 10:46:33 AM America/Denver

This is really hard. We have had a few people bring healthy options and a couple homemade – but they usually bring a pre-packaged thing too.

Produce, Prepare, & Preserve.