Doughnut Feed Me That.
"These are treats," I said to Birdy as she clamored for a doughnut at Dunkin Donuts.
"Yes, a treat. Not something we have all the time. But we can have it some of the time."
What kills me is that the price of a doughnut at Dunkin Donuts is a matter of two or three quarters. If I want to buy a dozen doughnuts at the grocery store, it might cost me $1.99. But if I want a bag of four avocados, it runs me upwards four and a half dollars. Keeping the food options in my house, and in my life, reasonably healthy means shelling out the extra money, even when we're like "holy shit, that's an insane grocery bill."
Chris and I talk about the cost of food all the time - how healthy food costs are on the rise, how easy it is to keep the grocery bill down if you buy things that aren't particularly healthy (see aforementioned doughnut example), and how so much of what's marketed as "food" is over-run by chemicals and crap. (Not to mention that there's an actual science behind the addiction - check out this fascinating New York Times article about that very theory.) But one thing we are constantly harping on, in our own home, is the "kid food" conundrum. When we go out to eat, the kid's menu is most often comprised of chicken fingers (fried), pasta and meatballs, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese. This is not what I want to feed my kid as a standard meal.
For my daughter - my growing child and the person I care about the most on the planet - I think these menu options are crummy and drive an agenda of junky foods over healthy foods. Recently, at a restaurant we frequent pretty often, we noticed that french fries have been augmented with a "broccoli" or "fresh fruit" option, which I found encouraging, But still, the majority of what I see marketed and pushed towards my kid, outside of our home, is food that we'd classify as "treats." This is "kid food?" Why is my kid "supposed" to eat the crappiest food?
There's nothing wrong with having these foods, in moderation. Most things, in moderation, are fine. (Isn't this the theory of finding balance in a life with diabetes?) But a steady stream of breaded, factory-mashed chicken nuggets and macaroni aren't what I'm hoping for, in terms of my kid, or the rest of my family. The fact that she likes carrot sticks and cucumbers, and grilled chicken and lentil soup is encouraging. We work hard to earn our grocery bill, and we take pride in our daughter's concept of what a "treat" is. Sure, she's grossed out now by avocado (and tells me with her mangled cave woman speech: "You can eat that, that avocado stuff because I don't like it. I eat it when I be bigger."), but she did eat it all the time when she was a baby. And if I keep offering it to her and helping her develop a taste for things like it, hopefully she'll lean towards healthier options instead of defaulting to ketchup and french fries.
"But I like french fries," she argues with me.
"I know you do. But you can eat other things, too."
"Okay. And when I be bigger, I can eat just french fries if I want to, and you can eat just avocado."
I want "kid food" for my kid to simply be food that's essentially the same foods as what her mom and dad are eating, just cut into smaller bites. (Except coffee. I hope she doesn't inherit that bad habit from me.) This is a work-in-progress, but if her life can include a healthy balance of doughnuts as treats and spinach as standard, I'll eat "just avocado" for life.