Sometimes my husband likes to tease my kids when they ask: “What’s for dessert?” and he replies, broccoli. Now, my kids just groan, or say, no, really, but other people’s kids sometimes fall for it. They have these pained looks on their faces, like are we really getting broccoli? For dessert?
Which brings me to the topic of kids and food. You know, you can preach all you want, you can teach all you want, but they have their own little minds, these kids. For example, I taught my eldest son to read nutrition tags on cereal boxes at a young age. So what did he do? Look around for boxes of cereal with higher sugar content. ‘Cuz the higher the sugar content, the better it tastes, right? Hmmm.
What works best for me is fresh, steamed broccoli. I own three strainers (the kind you insert into a pot), so I don’t have to go searching for one, and I often cut up the broccoli an hour or two before supper and leave it to soak. So at dinner time I can put fresh, steamed broccoli on the table. Which my kids eat. Though they don’t eat it the next day, when it’s a leftover. But that’s OK, because I eat it leftover. For breakfast or lunch.
Now, here’s another topic: we all live in a community of some sort. My family and I are part of the Orthodox Jewish community, which has some wonderful benefits, such as being able to give (shaloch manot on Purim, Bikur Holim–visiting the sick, paying shiva calls, cooking for families with new babies) and receive (similar list). However, providing healthy food for young children is not one the stronger points of the Orthodox Jewish community. I don’t remember the amount of candy that my kids get in school or shul being so abundant when I was a child. And did her teacher really need to send home the chocolate fudge cake when my daughter was sick last year and needed good nutrition to recover? I gave the cake to my boys. Then there was the kiddush for a simcha in a more right wing community than ours…I remember seeing bright red on the table, and thinking, great, fruit! No, my eyes were playing tricks on me. That was just food coloring on the cake. And I’m not even bringing the bug issue (for those who don’t know about kashrut and bugs…that would be a whole ‘nother post).
I hate when Nutrition Nerd becomes Nutrition Nag. But I feel like a nag when I bring up the topic of healthy food for children.