It’s OK that the kids ate hot dogs

Parenting and Food: It’s OK if Your Kids Aren’t Eating the Perfect Diet Everyday

It’s OK Not to Be Supermom

It’s OK if we don’t feed our kids a perfect, nutritionally balanced meal for breakfast, lunch and supper, absolutely every day of their little lives. We all know that sometimes life gets in the way of being perfect. Kids won’t eat the healthy foods we want them to try. Hectic schedules make it tough to cook some nights. And then there are all those signs and ads, tempting us to just give in to the kids’ pleas to stop for a juicy burger or a pizza instead of eating the healthy meal we planned out for the night. Faced with all this, really, it’s OK if we aren’t supermoms.

Every parent wants to do what’s best for the kids. Whether that be feeding them healthy foods or setting the right example by eating well ourselves, it can be tough to keep to our own standards all the time. And don’t even get me talking about expert recommendations or trying to keep up with the supermom down the block who grows her own vegetables, raises her own chickens and bees, grinds her own ancient grains, and bakes healthy Paleo breakfast treats for her kids while running between hot yoga and spin class, and still never has a single hair out of place!

 

It’s OK if your kids don’t always eat healthy | #24CarrotDiet

Be Kind and Patient with Yourself

We need to be kind with ourselves. Not only that, but we need to understand that it isn’t reasonable to expect perfection from ourselves. We wouldn’t put that on anyone else, so why do we always think we need to be perfect? Same goes for our parenting, and most especially for the way we feed our kids. So today I’m doing something a little out of the ordinary: I’m writing a list of things that I’ve decided to be OK about. These are just things I’ve accepted are the way they are, and I’m not going to beat myself up about them.

This post was inspired by Amber Myers’ “Hey, It’s Okay” post at Airing My Dirty Laundry and will be part of her linkup there. To see other fun posts about what’s OK, please check out her blog and look for the links at the bottom of her post. If you write your own “It’s OK” post, you can share your link there too!

 

 

It’s OK That We Ate Packaged Soup

We love soups and stews in our house. And I usually make my own, rather than buying something from a can or a powdered mix. But when Halloween coincides with the oldest daughter’s midterms and the middle daughter’s end of term test period, life is already hectic enough.

Between trying to keep the kids on track and helping them with Halloween costumes, I just wasn’t in any shape to be chopping vegetables and making soup. So we decided to use a corn chowder mix that my oldest brought home from the farmer’s market this week. The cream base is a commercial mix, but all of the veggies were grown locally on the farm where she works and dried in the farm kitchen. So it wasn’t my own corn chowder recipe or a traditional Quebec-style pea soup. But it was a fairly healthy soup, and it helped out a local business that gives jobs to disabled folks. So I’m good with that!

It's OK that we made packaged soup instead of homemade
It’s not homemade soup, but I’m happy that we got a soup mix from a local farm that gives jobs to disabled people who need them
(Image: [creator]/Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

It’s OK That the Kids Ate Hot Dogs

It’s OK that the kids ran out to trick or treat last night without eating supper. Even though we had a lovely corn chowder from Spectrum Farms on the stove and ready before they left the house. It’s OK that they didn’t eat before going out because I know they had hot dogs at the fire hall, which was their first stop.

It’s never easy getting teenagers to keep up a balanced diet, especially when they’re very busy with school and extra-curricular activities. We do our best to put good food in front of them and to remind them to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. If they sometimes skip a meal or eat something highly processed, I try not to stress over it. As long as they eat well at the next meal, they’ll be all right.

It’s OK that the kids ate hot dogs
The kids will live through a skipped supper, especially since they were fed at the fire hall
(Image: Meditations/Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

It’s OK That I Don’t Like Eggplant

I think eggplant is a simply gorgeous vegetable! Whether it’s a shiny black one or a pretty pale purple, I really think eggplant is visually very attractive. But it’s OK with me that I’m not particularly fond of it as a food choice.

For a while I felt kind of guilty about this one. I really wanted to like eggplant. I really wanted to find at least one eggplant recipe that I could say I loved. But when that didn’t happen, I decided it’s just OK to have some vegetables I don’t like.

And if I had to pick one vegetable that I wasn’t going to like, it’s good that it’s eggplant. It’s not like it’s a superfood or anything. If you look at the nutritional analysis for eggplant, it’s mostly water – which I can get plenty of other places. It does contain some anthocyanins, but not if you peel it before cooking. And 100 g of eggplant actually provides 11% of our daily requirement for manganese. But I’d rather get that from the lovely Lima beans in my homemade carrot and cauliflower soup, thanks all the same!

So I’m OK with just not eating that one vegetable too much. (And I suppose I really should cut up that pretty pale purple one that’s been sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks and add it to a spaghetti sauce or something, before it wilts away to nothing….)

It’s OK not to like eggplant
I can replace the 11% manganese from 100 g of eggplant with 25% from the same amount of Lima beans – very cool beans!
(Image: Larisa-K/Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

 

 

It’s OK That Not Everyone Will Like Sweet Potato Burgers

My oldest daughter is about the only one besides me who really enjoys many of the orange vegetables and fruits I want to include in our diet each day. She enjoys squash, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe, for example, when her siblings turn their noses up at all three. She’s quite keen on the idea of trying a recipe for sweet potato burgers, despite the fact that Daddy and her siblings are probably not going to be fans.

But it’s OK if they aren’t fans of orange foods because all the kids do eat carrots, and we tend to prepare those quite often. And I can get some of the kids to at least try eating apricots, peaches, papaya, and mangoes. Hopefully, one day they will all find a good group of dark orange foods that they love. In the meantime, at least we don’t have to fight with them over dark green vegetables!

It’s OK if the whole family doesn’t like sweet potato burgers
I may not be pleased that my kids don’t like sweet potato, squash, or other orange foods. But even if they won’t try sweet potato burgers, I know I won’t have to fight with them over the greens served on the side!
(Image: silviarita/Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

 

I’d love to hear about the things you’re OK with! Please drop me a comment and tell me the things you’ve decided to accept about your life. It will be great for us all to share in a moment of self-kindness.

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Original content © 2017 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

48 thoughts on “Parenting and Food: It’s OK if Your Kids Aren’t Eating the Perfect Diet Everyday”

  1. Well, we didn’t end up making the burgers after all. Sigh! But I promise, Ruth, when we do get around to it and I get the post published, I will be sure to tag you 🙂

  2. I think its okay to not being too uptight with the foods you take.
    Yes its good to have a routine, but it tends to be boring if yiu follow it too uptight. Occasional treats balances thr lifestyle.

  3. I agree with your post! Lucky for me our kids love to eat veggies and fruits. People would freak when my son would grab raw broccoli off the veggie tray. But I also allowed them to eat bad too. If you make food an enemy it will cause so many issues

    1. So true, Andrea! I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with food – both healthy foods and treats. Otherwise, they’ll grow up hating vegetables and other healthy food while trying to sneak or binge on junk food.

  4. Hey, moms! You are amazing, just because you produced a human being. Everything else is not just on you. People are judging from their limiting ability to have compassion. We all surrounded by different circumstances, we have different believes, and we are just different. It’s nobody’s business what you feed you child.

  5. I truly believe that all things in moderation and nobody is perfect. Hot dogs and store bought soup is totally ok. I think people are too hard on themselves, myself included.

    1. I think you are right, Agnes. We do tend to be too hard on ourselves. It’s good to share thoughts like these and to all come together to say, “It’s OK.” We can all use the friendly words and the moral support sometimes 🙂

  6. Oh yes, my kids eat a lot of junk food. I mean, not a lot a lot, but a fair amount. They also eat fruits and veggies, but we love McDonalds. And Taco Bell. 😉

    1. Tacos are a favourite food for us too, Amber. We don’t have any Mexican restaurants close by, so we just make them at home 🙂

  7. I will never be that perfect mom that has kids eating the wholesome, 100% healthy way. I do hot dogs. I don’t do eggplant. And if we are in a hurry, there are frozen chicken nuggets! I’m with you!

    1. Yay! I think maybe we need a clubhouse for all the moms who feel exactly the way you do 🙂

      Seriously though, I think most of us want to be healthy and teach our kids a healthy lifestyle. But it is really tough to do all the right things and still live in the real world. We have to cut ourselves some slack. In fact, that’s also part of teaching our kids how to live right!

  8. I completely agree! It’s all about moderation. It’s easy to say what you’re going to feed your kids when you don’t have any, or when they’re young. I don’t see the problem in giving them “bad” food every now and then 🙂

    1. Oh yes, what we say before we have kids is always different from the reality! It’s easy to set high standards when we aren’t actually living with kids. But what do you do when your one-year-old spits out all the healthy vegetables you try to feed him and then cries for cereal bars and fruit? Life is a lot different once the kids take the reins – and that’s about the time they’re born, if not partway through your pregnancy!

  9. I don’t really want to force my kid to eat what he does not want. For sure, there are a lot of fruits that would represent most of the nutrition he needs, that he also likes and I would invest on those.

    1. I think that’s an intelligent approach, Donah. Diversity is a good thing. If our kids don’t like one thing, we can always try plenty of others. We can also rotate that same food back into their meals at a later time to see if they will accept it the second time.

      For some kids, it can take between 6-10 times to accept a food they aren’t familiar with. If we stop offering, they may never try it again. I know in my own case, there were several food like beetroot, asparagus, and raw tomatoes that I disliked as a child. My mother probably tried several times to get me to eat them when I was very small, but then she stopped. She would simply not put that food on my plate and would offer an alternative. Lo and behold, I tried these foods later in my teens or as an adult and discovered that I loved them! It’s never too late to learn to like a healthy food, so we must never lose hope. Let our children see us eating a variety of healthy foods and really enjoying them, and they will learn to keep an open mind about tasting foods.

  10. I also think it’s okay to eat food that other people consider unhealthy as long as you eat these in moderation and still eat healthy food most of the time. What’s not okay is to deprive ourselves of simple gastronomic pleasures 🙂

    1. Exactly, Roselle! Why should we eat a very restrictive diet, even if it does consist mainly of healthy foods? It’s good to eat a little dessert now and then, so to speak 😉

    1. I love ice cream too, Tina! Unfortunately, it doesn’t always agree with me. So it’s a once in a while treat in my case. But my mother-in-law was like you: she sate it almost every day near the end of her life. If she didn’t eat it in a bowl, she’d eat an ice cream treat like a Fudgsicle. Even with her diabetes, she managed her diet so she could “afford” that treat because it was a major comfort food for her. It was one of her little pleasures and, even though she indulged rather frequently in the later years, it never seemed to do any harm 🙂

  11. This is really a great reminder for people. It is great when parents want to feed their kids healthy foods, but sometimes it just isn’t possible and it is good to have a treat once in a while too!

    1. A treat once in a while is good for all of us, as long as we don’t overdo it. I think it’s worse to see parents who practically snatch the food out of their kids’ mouths because it’s anything less than 100% organic, fat-free, and low-carb. Kids who are alwas deprived generally binge eat junk food every chance they get 🙁

  12. I have been pretty lucky with my daughter. She actually really enjoys healthy foods and loves all of her veggies as long as they are fresh and not from a can.

    1. My kids are pretty good about healthy foods too. I have one in particular that loves vegetables, and another who now works on a farm and is very keen on trying anything new that she discovers at the farmer’s market.

    1. I’m glad that this post touched you, Sondra. As a parent, I know it can be tough to maintain a healthy balance. Many of us sometimes fear being judged for things like letting the kids eat fast food. It can be reassuring when others not only approve, but find our approach inspiring. Thanks so much for your kind words <3

  13. I hate eggplant too!

    When I was in my first semester in college, I never would have imagined that I would eventually end up in the field of nutrition. But I so clearly remember this girl talking in my child development class. And she said that her mother had strict rules about eating all the time, and she could never eat junk food. And now she just wanted to binge on junk all the time. So I’ve always remembered that. And I think finding balance, like you said, is really the best way for kids to grow up with a healthy relationship with food.

    1. I think a lot of parents were raised with a strict “clean your plate” mentality because their parents lived through very lean times or a “no junk food”/”you’re fat” mentality that stemmed from the fitness craze and fear of fats and cholesterol that rose out of the 80s. So many of us never had that healthy relationship with food growing up, and that’s made it tough for us to model healthy eating for our own kids. It can take a long time to work through all the baggage – even longer if food security is an issue. I think the best that most of us can hope for at the moment is just to try to do better today than yesterday, and to always celebrate healthy foods rather than vilifying the ones that are less nutritious.

  14. Your post reminds me of my parents. I am not a parent yet and sometimes I don’t understand why they want me to eat vegetables. What I have always wanted are meat like pork and chickens. So, when it comes that they will give me veggies, I feel upset to the extent that I will cry because I don’t want to eat. Now that I am a grown up, I understand them more. Vegetables are healthy and we need it to have a strong body resistance. I understand that its not all the times we can eat these kinds of foods. Sometimes we are forced to eat canned or processed foods which we all know are not healthy. I think as long as it is not everyday, it is okay. Great post!

    1. Absolutely! Sometimes our food options will be limited due to availability, time, or budget. It’s good to be able to accept that this will happen, and not to eat ourselves up with guilt over choosing less healthy food. As long as we do our best to have a balanced diet most of the time, we should be content.

    1. Even when it comes to our own food choices, it’s OK to sometimes indulge that craving for French fries or splurge on a piece of cheesecake when we go out for coffee. Even adults need the occasional treat. It helps us make more moderate choices the rest of the time 🙂

  15. I love that you remind us that our kids do not have to be perfect eaters and we do not have to be perfect parents. Thank you!

    Now please tell me where the recipe for sweet potato burgers is hidden!

    1. We are (I hope) going to try one out tonight, Ruth. So if it works out, I will attempt to get photos and will write up a post with our recipe for the sweet potato burgers this weekend. I’ll be sure to post the link once it’s done, so you can find it 🙂

  16. We once had to change a food rule. Usually we expected our kids to clean up their plates. Then one night we served yams. My son wasn’t picky about veggies, but he really did not like the yam. He struggled through it, and then it came back up. We then changed the rule that you could pick three foods you didn’t like and didn’t have to eat, but you couldn’t keep changing them. I can’t stomach liver or pickles. I’m not a fan of your lima beans, either, but that’s OK. I like eggplant if cooked in ratatouille, which I love.

    1. Ratatouille is one of the ways that I will eat eggplant, Barb. I’m happy that the kids will also eat it. I don’t think they’re so fond of the actual food. But since they loved the movie, they’re sort of tickled that we can make the food it was named after 🙂

      We used to expect our oldest to clean her plate, but we quickly discovered that this approach to healthy eating just caused both her and us distress. We now simply ask that the children try every new food that we serve, and we involve the kids in growing foods in the garden, shopping at the grocery store and farmers market, and also both cooking and menu planning.

      My oldest and youngest are very good eaters; there are very few foods these two girls won’t eat. My autistic son has recovered from a very restrictive diet that once qualified as an eating disorder, and now eats most of the foods we serve with great pleasure. Only our middle daughter is a bit picky about what she eats. She has to be reminded to include more fruits and vegetables in her diet and to take the time to eat breakfast and lunch. She eats a lot of vegetables that other kids turn their noses up at, so we are making progress 🙂

  17. Oh I’ll have to try the sweet potato burgers! There are some things that I love and hubby doesn’t so many times I’ll make 2 separate dinners. I’ll make salmon for me and porkchop for hubby. Or a stuffed pepper for hubby and eggplant (yes, I LOVE eggplant!) for me! I had an overflow of eggplant from our garden so I fried up and froze about 8 bags for the winter. I also came up with a baked eggplant, using the hollowed out eggplant for the baking dish! After I added the cheese and sauce and baked it, the taste was also more like lasagna!

    1. Oh, that intrigues me! You’ll have to tell me how to do that, Martha. I may have found my “one eggplant recipe” if it tastes like lasagna 😀

        1. Ah! I was reading it more like “Macedonian,” so it didn’t make sense. In Quebec, people call it “MacDo.” Very similar 🙂

  18. I 100% agree with you Kyla..No point in making everyone miserable we should enjoy our food and there will always be something that we or our kids don’t like..So what? The choice of food in this world is humongous …But we can’t eat it all..So we eat what we love and my mantra is 80%/20% the ( 20%) being the hotdog or the like ….We do what we can and no kid wants a fanatical mum they want a caring, well-balanced mum who introduces food CHOICES….A great post Kyla 🙂 Reblogged 🙂

    1. I love this comment so much! Thanks, Carol. Yes, the 80/20 balance is important. But it’s just as important that they feel they can enjoy that 20% (or less) without guilt 🙂

      1. Og course it is Kyla…We all do..yesterday it was dark chocolate crispy thins me and my grandson and we have enough left for at least 3 days I reckon….lol..We savour every bite..lol

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