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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Food Wars

Food Wars

It's no secret that there's a battle raging in our house.

On one side is a Mommy who valiantly and bravely faces tantrums, hunger strikes and outright defiance in her efforts to get one little boy to eat healthy food.

On the other side is a stubborn four-year-old with a taste for over-processed chicken nuggets and powder cheese snacks and pastas.

Constantly gathering intel, I've come across several articles with tips to help your child eat healthier.  The problem is, I'm doing everything on those lists!

Tip #1: Grow a garden.  The theory behind this is that when your child recognizes, grows, sees healthy food, they'll be more likely to eat healthy food.

Yeah.  Right.  So why is it a battle to get my child to eat tomatoes, zucchini, paddy pans, green beans, spinach, lettuce and any number of things we grow?  The only things he'll eat are peas and carrots and only straight from the garden.  If I bring them inside and put them on a plate they suddenly become "disgusting".

Tip #2: Take a trip to the farm where your child can see how food is grown.

Yep.  Been there, done that.  And it's why Joseph no longer eats eggs.  He thinks that there are baby chicks inside each egg.

Tip #3:  Teach them to cook.  As you all know, Joseph is my little sous chef.  In theory, this would mean that he'd help me eat all the lovely stir frys and pastas that we create.  In reality, he loves to cook and then spends all his time picking everything remotely green off his plate.

Tip #4:  Encourage them to eat their veggies.  Oh.  Is that what's it called?  Encouragement?  I've done everything from singing "Party in my Tummy" to ignoring his avoidance to telling horror stories to explaining how big and strong he'll grow from eating his veggies.  At one point, my lovely son looked at me and said, "Then I want to be little."

Tip #5:  Be a role model.  Chad and I eat our veggies.  Every time.  We even talk about how delicious they are.  But he's on to us.

Tip #6:  Teach them to read labels.  Well, he can't read, but I have managed to instill a fear of HFCS.  Maybe that's a baby step?

Tip #7:  Let them help you shop.  Is this woman a mother?  Does she not realize that taking two children shopping with you should be deemed illegal under anti-torture regulations?  Has she ever walked an entire store with a little boy saying, "Can I have...." even when we're walking past charcoal briquettes?  Has she ever had a baby in the cart tossing all the contents of her purse onto the ground?  Has she ever tried to read nutritional information, attach a coupon and compare prices while the man behind the butcher's counter ask if her son's been tested for ADHD?

For the record, I have taken my children shopping.  And Joseph still doesn't eat his veggies.

I'll keep searching.  And trying.  And one day, as God is my witness, I'll prevail.

*Cue Gone with the Wind orchestration*

Mandy Dawson is a wife and mother of two living on the beautiful Central Coast of California.  While she's not scanning the internet for the Rosetta Stone of Children's Eating Habits, she can be found blogging at

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