Things my ‘lil guy has taught me about food

Ok. I’m a dietitian. One who aspires to feed my four year old spirited ‘lil guy good and nutritious nosh. But his food agenda doesn’t always mesh with mine. I’m not a fan of food wars. What’s the point? As much as I repeat ‘because it makes you big and strong’ this concept flies over the head of a four year old boy far more interested in the toy of the hour. Often, I’ll resort to watching him eat his bowl of cereal like there’s no tomorrow while his delicious meal sits on the table. I’ll take a big sip of ‘mama juice’ and press the reset button for tomorrow. Maybe he’ll do better tomorrow. If not, I have plenty of cereal… and ‘mama juice’.

Being a dietitian to a child, the public assumes you get it right. All the time. The truth. I get it right. Sometimes. Being new to single mama-hood has it conundrums too. Some nights all we have time for is a picnic-styled meal. The usual suspects. Cheese, crackers, deli meat, carrot sticks and fruit. Still all the food groups. Just not quite a stunningly put together cooked meal. Reset. Tomorrow is another day. I just need to remember to defrost the chicken… .

The joy of being a mama is I get to hear all kinds of rationales and stories around food. I have decided that there may be some wisdom in what my son believes, so being the responsible dietitian I am, I thought it best I share his food wisdom with you too.

Ice-cream is a fabulous substitution for yogurt. Consuming yogurt on a daily basis gets BORING. Yes, it’s awesome to get your dose of probiotics and calcium, but sometimes you need a fix of ice-cream to help break up the monotony. If you need a second serving, go for it. If you’re anything like my ‘lil guy, vanilla, strawberry or chocolate flavors are staples. I kid myself with the strawberry ice-cream… I think maybe just maybe there’s real strawberry in it?

Broccoli stalks are little trees that are fun to eat… sometimes. It’s fun being a dinosaur who eats ‘trees’. But then again, sometimes you can also be a dinosaur who experiences a mood swing and decides to hate the trees. Oh well. I’ll just keep offering broccoli.

In general, vegetables should be banished. I’m lead to believe that vegetables are a schedule I drug that should be banned because they cause grave harm to a child’s psychological wellbeing. Offer up vegetables and in return there’s hysteria, delusion and fear unlike any I’ve ever seen. I’m not allowed to add vegetables to pizza or pasta. Gateways. While broccoli trees are ok at times, most other vegetables are dangerous. I guess I’ll keep peddling vegetable and keep sneaking them in. Oh yes, this vegelord will!

Making food into smiley faces has its pitfalls. Kudos to the parents who create foodscapes to entice kids to eat. I’m just not convinced all that time and effort pays off. In my household, a super cool face of food is appreciated for a minute. Eventually I’m accused of ‘playing with food’. Maybe a pick here, a nibble there, but no further than this because if the face is eaten, someone may eat your face? In the blink of a food eye, there’s sudden hollering. Fun food isn’t always fun when it get tossed on the floor. But for our dog Lu, it’s plenty fun.

Grazing out-beats meals. The concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner falls flat and has no footing in a busy day of watching ‘Mighty Machines’, playing with/ throwing around lego (I have seen Lego in places I never thought were possible) and repairing Mater or Lightning McQueen. With such a packed schedule, it makes sense to open the pantry door dozens of times to look for ‘something’ to eat. When hunger sets in, there may be willingness to try a meal, but refusal to sit down for it. If the meal doesn’t involve candy bribes it makes no sense to eat it. All that’s possible is a nibble, then off again to fix Thomas’s train track. REPEAT. ALL OF THIS. DOZENS OF TIMES.

Peanut butter has multiple uses. Who doesn’t love peanut butter! Step out your PBJ comfort zone. Eat it with carrot sticks or even with cucumber. Hey, why no smear it on fish sticks too? EAT IT WITH ANYTHING. While at it, smear it all over your clothes because later, while watching ‘Might Machines’ you can suck it out your clothes. Did I mention that peanut butter serves well as hair gel?

Candy should be a food group. Because let’s face it. You cannot live without it. Who decided fruit should be a food group but not candy? Dare not offer fruit instead of candy. That’s lunacy. They are not the same. Fortunately fruits have better standing than, dare I say it, vegetables.

The happiest day of this year. Easter. Candy as a food group.

The happiest day of this year. Easter. Candy as a food group.

So much to learn from such a ‘lil being.

Happy noshing, with, or without, ‘lil ones.

Jess

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