We've been watching Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution and frankly his findings regarding school lunches does not come as a great surprise to me. Having taught in public schools, I found the stuff they fed kids to be appalling. Some teachers ate the school food for lunch every single day. I couldn't stand the stuff, preferring to "paper bag" it so to say. It is depressing to think that many parents out there rely on schools to feed their kids at least one "balanced" meal a day. It is also sad, but I believe most of these parents buy "kid" friendly meals from the freezer section or the pre-packaged section in the grocery market and think that these meals are good for their kids because it is made by reputable companies like Gerber and Oscar Meyer. Or that the packaging boasts how healthy it is for kids...packed full of nutrients. And by nutrients they mean salt and fat and crap.
The other day, one of the Mom forums I frequent happened to have one thread where a Mom was besides herself on what to feed her 14 month old. She wanted help on how to get her daughter to eat healthy, but all the little girl wanted to eat was what the mom was eating, frozen dinners! The mom claimed that frozen meals is what she is used to and that is what she eats because it is easy. I don't think this mom wanted to change her own habits, but wanted to instil good eating habits in her daughter. While this is commendable, this feat will prove futile as long as the mom does not exemplify good eating habits herself. Our children learn from us. They see, they observe, and they absorb more than we can ever know. So one mom ironically named Ginger, suggested that this mother change her own eating habits and cook her own food and choose healthy meals she can share with her daughter. Giving many useful and helpful tips of how to prepare and store kid friendly, healthy foods.
I was quite happy to come across this thread only because Jelly Bean has hit a food transition herself. I really was inspired by the other Ginger's suggestions. Not having teeth yet, Jelly can't chew anything too hard, but she is not happy with the blended baby foods I have been giving her. Crying and throwing fits every time I have gone to feed her the last couple of days made me do something I never did with Cookie, I bought a packaged snack item from Gerber for her. I will call them crack puffs...because they are so addictive,so full of sodium, and crap that my baby wants to eat them and not stop. She grabbed handfulls of the stuff and then threw a tantrum when she ran out. This of course made feel like I had failed. I failed to provide my child something healthy, and I have ruined her forever to eating right.
Being a stay at home Mom has really allowed me to monitor the food my kids get. It allows me the time to buy fresh, healthy, and local foods to prepare for them. Being educated affords me the ability to read labels, and make informed decisions regarding what to buy. Early on I decided to make my own baby food for the kids. So the decision to feed Jelly these snacks went against everything I promised myself I would not do. But, we are going to California and Disneyland, and I was trying to figure out what I could feed her on the go, since I can't make my own food at the hotel. And of course Jelly has been on a food protest.
What I did discover, after forever banning these horrible snacks after the package is gone, is that Jelly just wants what we are eating. So, last night I prepared a chicken pot pie from leftover chicken and blended it up chunky for Jelly. Not only did she eat it, Cookie enjoyed the pot pie, too. I even made the crust from scratch, therefore I know exactly how much salt and milk, and butter went into the food my kids ate. So, I think a little earlier than Cookie, I now have to prepare and make food for the family that Jelly can eat, too. This actually is a good thing, as I have to make sure to prepare healthier things like baked potatoes and couscous(Cookie's favorite). In fact tonight I made couscous and Jelly kept signing for more as Cookie asked for more and more, also. If anyone wonders, couscous may be a kid favorite, but boy is it messy. But, I will put up with the mess in order to provide my children healthy food that they like. There is a food revolution in this house, and it is no longer mushy blended fruit and vegetable puree.