I was at a Spring (Easter) Party for Hudson and Teddy’s preschool today. It seemed to be a standard issue pot-luck type party where parents volunteer to bring in certain menu items to feed the kids and make it a special affair. As part of the menu, there were pepperoni pizzas, donuts, brownies, iced cookies, waffle cone cookies…you get the idea. It isn’t the ideal diet for anyone.
That said, I got into a conversation with one of the moms there about the choices the kids make with the guidance of mom or dad. Like me, some of you parents may struggle with towing the fine line between health and freedom when it comes to holiday parties.
Here’s my take on it. Think about when you were 5 years old. For that matter, think about when you were 15 years old. Think about what you knew in terms of diet and nutrition at those ages. I grew up in Indianapolis, IN. I ate a standard midwestern diet; lots of pot roasts with potatoes, ground beef, canned fruits and veggies. Veggies weren’t required at every meal. We smashed dairy, cereal, bread, and meat. I didn’t have a clue about proteins, fats, or carbs. I only knew what I heard, “If you want to grow, you need to eat your steak and potatoes.”
My boys are five and three and both of them know that sugar will make you fat. They both know that fats are good for you and they both regularly eat fresh fruits and veggies. But I’m not going to be a lunatic that monitors their every meal and doesn’t allow any fun at parties, special events, or holidays. Those times are some of my best memories as a child and I’m unwilling to deprive them of that. We as adults allow ourselves some indulgences, too, every so often. So, why would we not let the kids have a little sugar, enjoy themselves, and figure out that they will feel like crap if they have too much. The key is to not let every day turn into a “special occasion”. Have them learn that these days truly are special and treat them as a reward.
Our kids are by far and away ahead of where any child on the planet was knowledge-wise 25-35 years ago. They are already conscious of their nutritional decisions. Let’s remember to let them have a little fun, too.