In one corner we have me: a self-proclaimed “healthy foodaholic.” I read labels for pronounceable ingredients, I check sugar and fat content, and I try to choose food with limited additives and preservatives.
In the other corner we have the reigning champion: the Kids Menu, with items that rarely, if ever, meet my approval. Sometimes I feel like the annoying parent who complains to the school about the curriculum that not many others have an issue with. So instead of trying to change the norm, I’ve created my own rules for healthy eating. Here are some of things I follow:
Emma must try everything 3 times before she decides she doesn’t like it. I think sometimes she initially says she doesn’t like something because the taste is so new. So we make the three try deal, shake on it and I uphold my end of the bargain. So far, we’ve only had to strike beets!
She always has what we are having. No separate kids menu in our house. This serves a couple of purposes: 1) We make adult food popular and there is rarely a meal now where she won’t want to at least try what we are having (admittedly it was a bit awkward to explain why my husband’s beer was not ok). 2) We save time and money not having to make two dinners.
She never orders off of the kids menu at restaurants. We allow Emma to either share with us (another cost saver and totally feasible due to the huge portions most restaurants serve) or order her own entree from the adult menu. She often won’t finish but we always take it to go—another cost saver.
We advocate balance. Despite my obsession with healthy eating, there is always time for treats, and so we don’t discourage the occasional splurge. Emma’s school taught her about “Whoa Foods” and “Go Foods”. I love this concept and we’ve carried it through to our own eating curriculum. Emma knows ice cream is a Whoa (eat in in moderation) and veggies are a Go (have as much as you want).
I know the battle with the almighty Kids Menu can be a tough one, but there’s hope! I’d love to hear how you all navigate around the chicken fingers and pasta.
Happy Tracking (and eating :)!
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/visualthinker