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Let the child lead us to healthier eating habits

Submitted by on Sunday, 31 August 2008 No Comment

We’ve been on vacation for the past week, which means we’ve slipped into some nasty habits.

Bedtime has been more of a wish than a deadline. Morning clean-up has floated well into the afternoon. And regularly scheduled meals have lapsed into the category of “”vague memories.”"

But Little Guy set us straight this morning.

He marched to the “”engirator”" with his “”I’m hungry”" stance.

“”What do you want, babes?”" I asked, expecting to hear juice or ice cream.

“”I want carrots!”" he said.

If it’d been Big Guy, I would have fainted. Coming from Little Guy, though, it’s nothing unusual.

Watch him beg for broccoli! Listen to him ask for asparagus! Hear his appeals for apples!

Picky eater? More like picking his plate clean and begging for more. Good thing someone in this house has some nutritional sense, because there’s no such gene in Big Guy or me.

I’m a junk-food addict, and a hypocrite about it to boot. Dinner tonight: Chocolate biscotti after the guys fell asleep. At least I had milk with it. The night before, chips and salsa as the guys snoozed. As much of it as I ate,  I am claiming the salsa as a serving of vegetables.

It’s not that I dislike vegetables. It’s just that I’m usually so starved by the time I get around to feeding myself that I grab whatever I can get my hands on first. And it’s usually crap.

Vegetable love was a late-developing affection for me. Growing up in a hillbilly home, there always were vegetables with meals, but they usually were bathed in butter or boiled in fatback until they were limp and greasy. Bleck!

My life changed when I discovered salad bars in college. And steaming and stir fry. And a world of produce beyond green beans and peas.

I’m hoping Big Guy will hit that learning curve some day, too. Man cannot live on pizza and gogurt alone.

Little Guy’s seemed to know that from the start. I kept waiting for vegetable rejection when he hit 2 but, a year later, he’s still cheerfully chomping on whatever hits his plate. Sometimes, he even prods me to put more of the good stuff on his plate.

Last weekend, he started a corn on the cob craze, devouring two and taking the leftovers with him an hour later when he left to visit his grandparents. “”My chicken!”" he said, clutching the plastic bag close. I guess all foods you eat with your hands look alike to him. But he needn’t have worried. Big Guy wasn’t interested in the least, raising a ruckus at taking even his obligatory “”no, thank you”" bite.

I’m not sure what’s for dinner tomorrow, beyond a turkey I plan to roast. It’s a little out of season, but no more so than the Christmas tree the guys put up almost two weeks ago.

I think I’ll just ask Little Guy. He seems to have the food instincts in this household.

Copyright 2008  Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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