I have a lot of posts on this blog that might make it sound like we are doing wonderful in the eating department. I give my baby homemade baby food, I introduce my children to new foods often, and I teach my kids eating habits that will help them eat well throughout life. But guess what? I struggle just like you. Here’s a story for illustration:
It was a long day, my girls were acting up as usual, and I started making dinner five minutes before dinner time. I had some chicken, cheese, and eggs in the fridge and that was about it. No veggies, or at least none that could be quickly prepared.
I hurriedly threw something edible together and sat the girls down in their chairs to eat. They ate no problem. Neither of them asked for broccoli or salad. They were just content to eat some eggs and cheese. It was while I was feeding them that I started thinking about the lack of veggies on their plates. Then I pushed that thought aside and just enjoyed the quiet that dinner time often provides for me. The girls were eating and happy, and I was getting some relief from all the whining and yelling.
© Subbotina Anna / Dollar Photo Club
Why We Should Consider Overall Nutrition
Did you catch the part where no vegetables were served? Where I just enjoyed the moment and couldn’t have cared less if their meal was nutritionally complete?
I wasn’t worried about their veggie-less dinner, because I knew that they ate veggies earlier that day for lunch and that they would likely eat veggies tomorrow. The point is not to be strict at every meal and make your kids adhere to every single food rule in order to see their eating habits improve. No, in fact, the point is to have some guidelines to follow so you don’t go completely off the nutrition track.
I’ve Failed as a Mom Because I Gave My Child Junk
I’ve seen some moms online showing pictures of their child’s lunch or dinner and saying that they have failed as a mom. That’s baloney (pun intended!).
You gave your child food, right? Ok then, you didn’t fail.
You intend to do better next time, right? Ok then, you didn’t fail.
When you’re feeding your child, it is easy to think that you have failed or are failing if
a) your child doesn’t eat the veggies (or other food group/vitamin/mineral)
b) your child refuses to eat anything for dinner
c) your child throws a tantrum every night at dinner time.
Kids are finicky about food a lot of times, but if you consider what they are eating as a whole rather than just at one meal, you will realize that you are not failing. No, you are doing your best. Sure, there could be room for improvement, but at least you are trying.
The important thing you need to remember is that as long as you are offering good, healthy foods, your child should be getting what her body needs over time. Children know how much their bodies need as long as us parents do not interfere with that natural instinct.*
I’m Trying and That’s What Matters
Just because of one dinner sans veggies, my kids are not going to start down the path to junk food, and I’m certainly not failing as a mom. Evaluating my progress over time is what keeps me at it. Maybe yesterday Bella threw everything I gave her on the floor, but today she is happily chowing down, even on the tomatoes and broccoli.
Keep a positive attitude and try to always improve. After all, you’re only human and so are your kids.
Here’s a great read if you need some more encouragement: My Kid Likes Junk Food. And That’s Okay.
*Source: “Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding” by Ellyn Satter on Ellyn Satter Institute.