Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Food Revolution

From the day he was born we have had difficulty getting Jackson to eat. First it was breastfeeding, so we switched him to formula. Solid Gold formula to be exact. The stuff cost about $8 a day! We begged, pleaded and cried to get him to take the stuff. He eventualy gained enough weight to make the 30th percentile. Then he graduated to real food and we had a relatively easy time. He was pretty good with baby food and we could get him to eat pureed fruits and veggies. We did that for way too long. I thought that pureed veggies were better than no veggies. So he got that until he was almost 2.
As Jackson approached 2 it became apparent that we needed to take control of the situation. So I fazed out purees and fazed in canned cubed fruits and veggies. He took to he fruits, not veggies, though! Hmmm, he outsmarted me on that one.
Several weeks ago I was watching John and Kate Plus 8 and she says that all her kids eat most all food. She encouraged viewers to keep putting healthy foods on their kids' plates and one day they might pick them up and eat the healthy things. "Ok, sure," I thought.
That got me thinking. When I worked with disadvantaged kids they would eat everything that was put in front of them. Literally, they put food in their pockets to take it home to eat later. Those kids were hungry and they didn't care if it was nasty cafeteria food. That revelation made me realize that I had created a picky eater. This is just as much my doing as his. At his two year check up he was almost 30 pounds, which puts him into the 50th percentile. He is an average sized child...thanks to graham crackers!
In addition to this I was tired of having food thrown. Am I crazy to allow a toddler to throw food and then beg him to eat more? YES! I am an Early Childhood professional and there ain't no way I would ever allow someone else's child to do this.
All of this brought me to The Food Revolution. I decided that I am going to feed Jackson several healthy foods at each meal and he can eat it or not. I always include something he likes. If he throws a piece of food, he gets a warning, the next piece that gets thrown means the meal is over. Period!
The first few days were great. I must have timed it at a growth spurt. He ate most of what was given to him and only a little food got thrown. Obviously, I thought, this is easy. Now I have realized that true revolutions take time. And revolutions are hard! Sometimes you unknowingly lose ground.
As an educator I know that doing the right thing for kids is often a struggle but it doesn't make it any less worthwhile. As a mom I hate seeing my child go "HUNGWEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" because he threw the food that was placed in front of him. As a frugal mom I hate throwing away food that is perfectly good. But you can only reheat food so many times before it lose what little alure it had before. I know that this is the right thing to do.
My hope is that one day Jackson eats like a normal child. I'm prepared to hold my ground. I have to!
I have lots of cute pictures of Jackson eating food. It makes it look like he is a good healthy eater. This is just an illusion. I hope you enjoy them!



2 comments:

  1. You are an inspiration for me! I think we will do our kids a huge favor by holding them accountable even at this early age for their behavior at meal times as well as food choices. In the long run it will pay off! I see them eating brussel sprouts by 4! :)
    Kelly

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  2. You are too funny! You got me thinking, why do professional educators like us, not see these signs earlier. You have motivated me to start my own revolution! There are so many things to choose from that I'll have to get back to you and let you know which one I pick! See you tomorrow!

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