preschool potluck...

lucy's preschool playgroup had a little valentine's day party today. otherwise known as a sugar fest, in which icing-stacked cupcakes, frosted cookies and bowls of candy--yes, bowls of candy-- were set out in a kiddie-free-for-all. to be fair, there were also orange slices and non-organic, imported grapes (a notorious member of the dirty dozen). we brought croissants which we stuffed with cheese before baking. i'm not pretending that croissants are a healthy food--but our contribution to the party had a short list of recognizable ingredients. i'm afraid i can't say the same for the neon frosting.

after recently watching food, inc., king corn and killer at large: why obesity is america's biggest threat, we've made some serious changes to our eating habits. well, as it turns out, knowledge isn't just power. knowledge is the concrete foundation upon which i'm standing--a bona fide food snob.

thankfully, after eating two breakfasts only a couple hours earlier, little lucy wasn't interested any of the food presented. rather, she took the chance to play with ALL of the baby dolls while the rest of the toddler set snacked. my proposed plan of attack, had she been hungry, was to fill her up on a croissant and orange slices, then steer her toward the single batch of homemade cookies, in hopes that the additives/chemical/trans fat content was on the lesser end of the scale.

how long will i reasonably be able to control my daughter's food intake outside of our home? how long until she wants all of the commercialized crap--even though she's not being exposed to the actual commercials? how long until it becomes a real battle?

earlier in the week, an art project at the aforementioned school was stringing froot loops on a pipe cleaner to make edible bracelets. of course, with a group aged 18-36 months, there's a lot more nibbling than stringing going on. but, being the semi-reasonable person that i am, i concluded that the benefit of lucy sitting at a table with a group of children, while (kinda-sorta) working on fine motor skills outweighed the negative end of her consuming the actual froot loops. especially since sugar-cereal-bracelet-making is a one-time activity during the preschool session. this is not to say that i didn't sit there making mental notes of what to look for when the search for a real preschool begins.

so i let little lucy munch away on froot loops--artificial flavors, artificial colors, gmo's. all of it. because i don't want to be that mom. you know--the food snob.

as it turns out, she isn't ruined after all. lucy requested her broccoli as we pulled away from the curb today--leaving that sugar-haven in our dust. and i was so thrilled, i pulled back to the curb and got it for her.


Kelly Marie said...

Wow, I'm really surprised about the fruit loops at pre-school. The school that we found has a gardener on staff and he takes the kids to do gardening and tend to the chickens. Twice a month the kids get to cook with the veggies and eggs that they helped raise. They are very strict about what kind of food comes in to their facility. They actually requested NO CANDY with any Valentines and ask that any birthday treats be HEALTHY.

I hate to sound like I am bragging, but I honestly thought this was the NORM for preschools! Maybe not the gardener but emphasis on healthy foods.

My general take on "crap foods" outside the home is that once in a while is ok. Fruit loops or cupcakes with a friend isn't going to kill him, but I wont keep that kind of thing in our house. If he asks for it at the store, it's a NO. I am much less of a food snob than you are, we have "treats" a couple times a week...but it is always something we go out for. I really do think that makes a big difference.

Maria said...

I am betting that she will have a firm foundation in healthy eating and that the crap eating will be limited to rare occurrences, especially if she discovers it doesn't feel good to binge on said foods.

Just a heads up too, I know a lot of schools don't even LET you bring homemade treats anymore...something about poisoning, etc. I'm sure you'll find an alternative though!

Soyager said...

This issue is one that my hubby and I have ALREADY discussed concerning our (unborn!) child. Not only are we "food snobs," but strict vegetarians, so the challenge seems to be doubled. Couple that with the fact that vegs are few and far between where we live, and our kid will quickly become an outcast (at least, we hope not). We've been inspired by the few kids we see at our respective schools of employment whose parents have chosen a healthier route. Thankfully, kids seem to jump on board with healthy choices and other students are jealous of delicious, love-filled, packed lunches! I would imagine this lifestyle/diet choice is much like any other large life choice (religion, for example). If you have instilled your values in your kids appropriately, you can only hope they go out into the world and follow through!

Lillian said...

SO with you. I'm about as personally unhealthy as they come, thanks to the ridiculous amounts of fast food I've managed to cram into my body in the past 10 years. Researching food and its sources since having Amelia has changed my perspective on food in so many ways that it's unreal. We've changed bit by bit over the past few years and I finally feel like we've reached a point where I'm happy with what we do and don't eat on a regular basis. I definitely don't think that I'm unrealistic - my kids will have junk every so often, but it's not going to come from inside of our home.

I've already started researching school lunch program changes because I thought to look at the menu at the elementary school they'll attend and I could NOT believe what they serve to kids. I knew it was bad, but seeing a whole month of menus was the last straw. I know that I will likely just pack their lunches, but not every child has parents who can or will do that and every child deserves to eat nutritious food that will fuel them for learning and exploring and growing.

It's so true - knowledge is power and an incredible catalyst for health and understanding and an incredible foundation for growing our families:)

For some reason (or two of them plus a little girl I've been babysitting;) I hadn't read your blog in a while and I'm just catching up on a bunch of posts. I've missed reading your writing and posts and looking forward to it again!

kellenberger89 said...

Okay, I'm there. I too am a food snob. I find myself in the grocery looking at the crap in peoples baskets and I look at them like...really....really...your really going to eat that? I just want to tell them sometimes the bad choices they are making, but I restrain my self. I have become this way in the past 10 years. I have two children a 14y.o. son and an 11y.o. daughter. My son is and omnivore and my daughter chose over a year ago to be a vegetarian. We eat very healthy! If we have chips in the house they are usually organic tortillia chips. Both my kids eat well, but I do see them yearning for the "normal" food their friends eat at times, but mostly they tell me what a good cook I am and they are glad we eat the way we do. We only eat meat 1-2 times a week at most and usually less than that. My son does say sometimes "I hate this vegetarian stuff", but he is staying a healthy weight and showing me the growth of his biceps weekly. I know that they will experement with junk food and eat unhealthy at some point in their lives, but I know that when they start raising kids they will look back and do the right thing as we have all done. Have no fear you too are doing the right thing!

C and M said...

As a mother of a child with food allergies, I really related to the questions of how long until he starts wanting to eat all of the crap. He and I follow a very strict diet (me in order to keep nursing him) and it's tough when we're out and about... especially going to others homes. I hope that I'm able to instill healthy choices in him.

Stasi said...

This reminds me of a blog post I wrote a while back, when Maggie was just starting on solids:

I should revisit the subject now that she's older and is starting to express preferences. She definitely has a list of her favorites: pizza, tacos, dip. But pizza is always homemade & topped w/something like goat cheese & farm beets; "tacos" is anything in a tortilla (usually avocado & black beans, or chicken & fresh salsa); "dip" is mayonnaise on fries (homemade of course and how can I deny her such a sophisticated European treat?).

I think it's fun & creative to give them what they want but make it healthy and tasty. My hero is a dad I know who actually punished his child once by making him eat a McDonald's hamburger (he'd been whining for) while the rest of the family ate huge homemade burgers covered in delicious toppings. Kid never asked for McD's again.

Good food is recognizable even to toddlers.