The hilarious Becky at Suburban Matron posted a though-provoking response to a Jezebel article about parents in Park Slope (Brooklyn) wanting to ban the ice cream truck from their local park so they don’t have to have battles with their kids over ice cream. Her take is two fold: a) a little ice cream doesn’t hurt and b) saying yes generally makes the nos more palatable. I enjoyed the original very much and Becky’s take on it, but the first bit is what I want to talk about. A little ice cream doesn’t hurt.
See, I was watching Biggest Loser the other night. This is my favorite treadmill show because these people who weigh at least 20 lbs more than I do (at the end of the season) become totally strong and could probably kick my ass so it’s totally motivating. Like if that guy can do it, I can run another few tenths of a mile/hr faster, right?? Right. Anyhow, they had a cooking challenge judged by last season’s contestants. They all look great and have obviously kept up their weight loss, but when one of the contestants used a TABLESPOON of mayonnaise (not the low fat stuff, the FULL FAT stuff), they just about lost it. “I would have preferred you to use the light mayo” one of them said. People, we’re talking about 90 calories worth of mayo, spread over a whole recipe. Seriously???
I am all for vegetables and portion control and water drinking and running and KALE! I love me some kale! But when did we get so insane that we can’t occasionally allow our kids an ice cream at the park or a tablespoon of mayo in their chicken salad? I make vegetables to go with dinner almost every night, upwards of two cups for each person of steamed broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower (generally the kids don’t eat all of it and I take the leftovers for lunch) and I season them with everything under the sun … but I always start with a little butter. A tablespoon or around 90 calories worth of the stuff. It tastes great and adds around 23 calories to each person’s serving of veggies and a little fat (which we need, people!).
I don’t want to raise kids who are fearful of food. I want to raise kids who understand that mostly, we drink water, but the occasional cup of juice is OK too. I want to raise kids who eat because they’re hungry or occasionally because it looks tasty, not just because it’s there. I also want to raise kids who understand the difference between good homemade food and junky processed crap – though I don’t think the Oreo should be expressly forbidden either. I want them to recognize an ice cream for what it is – a treat – and to not expect it every day or every trip to the park. I want them to be able to live without worrying about every single solitary thing they put in their mouths, but enough sense to know that mostly, the fuel should be good wholesome stuff.
I am of course still working on this myself. But I will continue to drop a dollop of butter on the broccoli and I doubt anything anyone says could stop me.