Here’s a dry version of the story. Basically, parents, we don’t have much influence over what our kids are eating because there are other…
…complex factors, and the family environment plays only a partial role. More attention should be given to the influence of the other players on children’s eating patterns such as that of schools, the local food environment and peer influence, government guidelines and policies that regulate school meals, and the broader food environment that is influenced by food production, distribution and advertising.” He added, “Parents need to be better empowered to be good role models and help their children eat a healthy diet.”
What I am interpreting this to mean is that even though I struggle to feed my family whole foods, restrict processed foods, don’t serve a lot of snacks and try to promote healthy relationships with food, I am being overshadowed by friends and the environment.
Dinner time is a battle ground at our house. Jeremy and Jermaine are good eaters. There have been very few meals I have made that haven’t been edible. If they don’t like something, they quietly push it to the side of their plates and ignore it.
Aaron is a different story completely. He loudly and assertively declares his distaste for certain foods. He’ll point out my culinary short-comings with delight (“this chicken is too dry to eat!”). Add in the fact that he doesn’t like his food to touch (honestly, who can fault him for that?!) and that he is uber-picky, and dinner is hell. He and Jim butt heads over something at every meal.
Aaron’s diet has really suffered since going to middle school. How can you compete with a school cafeteria serving chips and cookies with every lunch? Aaron will skip the actual lunch, instead spending his alloted meal money on the junk food.
I’m beginning to think it’s time for some reverse psychology. Instead of limiting junk foods, I am going to load up on them. I will serve chips and dip with soda for every meal. Forget meat and vegetables. Maybe I can rig the refrigerator to dispense Coke instead of water. Instead of ice cubes, Popsicles will pour forth!
I’ll fill the counters with bags of candy. I’ll make cakes and brownies every day.
We’ll actually just skip the sit-down family dinner and graze our ways through meal time. When you’re hungry, eat. Eat lots of sugar and chemicals.
OK, that was just fantasy.
I do wonder what not having coke and candy readily available at home makes my boys like on the street. Are they so ravenous for junk that they grasp at anything that falls in their paths? If it was so available at home, would they be attracted to healthy foods? Would the site of a banana or apple in the school cafeteria send their taste buds into a gotta-have-it frenzy?
The twins will eat fruit and vegetables for snacks. Anything in the refrigerator is fair game for them. Aaron wouldn’t touch an apple that wasn’t covered in caramel and nuts for any reason.
I wish I had an easy answer. Obviously, I can’t lock my kids up and manage all their meals. I sure wish the school was my ally in this instead of my enemy. The school has become the mythical neighborhood drug dealer. Except they are standing, sanctioned by my district’s policies, luring my kid with chips and baked goods instead of heroine or pot.
How is your school district? Are junk foods allowed? Have you successfully gotten your district to change their junk-food policy? I’d love to hear about it!