To this day, I struggle with healthy perspectives on food. I know what I should be eating. I understand portion sizes, ratios of fat to carbohydrate to protein, and even the importance of fiber. I know that food should not be a source of comfort but rather fuel for the body–a means of sustenance, not a way to soothe the soul. Yet I still grab the Ben & Jerry’s when I’ve had a bad day or bake brownies to pull myself out of a slump. I am rent by faction (–bonus points for using this phrase from my Philosophy class for the millionth time this week!–) and finding balance remains difficult, even armed with the proper knowledge.
Understanding the problems I’ve had with food, I don’t want my children to face the same. We’ve tried to be pretty open, attempting to not make it a source of obsession. They almost always choose fruits and vegetables over junk and they’re allowed to choose how much of them they will have since we’re trying to encourage healthier choices.
Regardless, my kids hoard food. They sneak it from the cabinets and refrigerator only to stash it in their bedroom, under the couch, or worst yet, in their beds. Once it was the Oreos that only very rarely grace the cabinets but usually, it’s the very fruits and vegetables that they have open reign with. Today, I discovered my artisan lettuce under the couch. I’m not sure how long it has been hiding out in that cave, but it had grown a rather fuzzy beard that made it much less attractive than when it first entered the house. Alas, it did not survive the ordeal. A few weeks ago, a package of Campari tomatoes was revealed when I pulled back the comforter on my daughter’s bed. Celery stalks and carrot sticks, raisins and apples, it doesn’t matter. I find them stashed all over the apartment, as if I have been transported into the home of a Depression-era survivor who fears a repeat of the lean years. I’m at a complete loss.
How do you instill healthy perspectives on food when the intended recipients of this knowledge insist upon alternating between squirreling away everything for a rainy day and binging? How much of this is to be blamed upon their young ages–nearly 4 and 6 years old? Am I making mountains out of mole hills here? Or should I be concerned? I just don’t know what to do… In the meantime, I’m keeping a closer watch on the cabinets and refrigerator. The vegetables don’t deserve this torture!