Vacation, All I Never Wanted

by Sally on July 13, 2011

I loosen up a lot about food when we’re on vacation. There are quite a few things I don’t keep in the house (like hot dogs and Hawaiian Punch) that I don’t mind my kids having once in a while.

Ditto for visiting friends or relatives. I was once at a gathering where a mom brought her own stash of organic snacks, lest her children partake in the muffins the host was providing (which, after all, may have been laced with high fructose hydrogenated cyanide). Unless there’s a food allergy issue, I find that kind of stuff unnecessary.

But during our recent family trip to Chicago, Sam put my “Hey, it’s all cool” vacation attitude to the test. Little did I know that while Henry would eat plenty of healthy food along with all the junk, Sam would eat only the junk.

Some of the lowlights:

Friday: Lunch on the Road

After I reject a string of highway exits offering fast food, my husband announces we’re nearly out of gas and stops at the next exit. Our only food choice: Bob Evans. Both kids ask for fruit punch with their meals. While we’re waiting, Sam constructs a tower out of jelly packets, which somehow devolves into him eating spoonfuls of orange marmalade. When the meals and drinks come, he downs half of his fruit punch but won’t touch his food.

Saturday: Breakfast Downtown

After a restless night in the hotel room, Sam is up at 5am. I take him to the hotel lobby and shell out $1.50  for what’s possibly the smallest banana ever grown. But when I peel it, I accidentally break it in half and Sam refuses to eat it. An hour later, at a nearby bagel shop, he has two spoonfuls of yogurt, a 6-ounce box of orange juice, and licks the cream cheese off of his bagel.

Saturday:  Lunch at the Museum of Science and Industry

The kids ask for hot dogs and lemonade at the food court, and I’m too tired to argue. I order them applesauce on the side and secretly water down the drinks. Sam has a couple bites of applesauce, licks the ketchup off one end of his hot dog, and drinks his lemonade.

All in all, Sam’s two-day food tally went something like this: One packet of orange marmalade, one bite of pizza, two bites of yogurt, three bites of applesauce, several licks of cream cheese, ketchup, and almond butter, multiple cookies, handfuls of Cheez-Its, one cherry Italian ice, and varying amounts of milk, fruit punch, apple juice, orange juice, and lemonade. The only saving grace is that he also ate several pieces of fruit I had packed in a cooler.

Believe me, there were plenty of things I said “no” to, like the ice cream man who stalked us at the playground an hour before dinner. But still, it’s a bleak tally.

In my defense, we were exhausted. And largely operating on survival mode. (Let me just say that the only thing worse than taking an uncooperative toddler to downtown Chicago for a weekend is knowing that the whole thing was your idea.)

What I Learned:

  • Some rules weren’t meant to be broken. Sam would happily guzzle juice and punch all day if allowed, so I should’ve maintained the one-sweet-drink-a-day policy we have at home (whether it was juice or otherwise).
  • Preparation is key. In hindsight, I should’ve packed a much larger cooler filled with more fruit, plus things like peanut butter, whole wheat bread, and cheese sticks.
  • What goes in must come out. Sam’s sugar bender came to an abrupt and explosive end on our return trip–thankfully, just a few miles from our house. The carseat had to be taken out, disassembled, and washed thoroughly. Enough said.


The Truth About Juice

by Sally on April 20, 2010

“Juice”–or more accurately, “ju”–was one of Sam’s first words. I’d avoided giving him any juice at all until he suffered one particularly bad bout of constipation and the pediatrician recommended an ounce or two of diluted apple juice to get things moving.

And thus began his obsession with ju.

The kid would drink juice all day, everyday, if I let him. I don’t. Compared to fruit, juice doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. And since Sam devours fruit, he doesn’t need it. So I’ve settled on a compromise: a half cup of diluted orange juice in the morning with breakfast–and that’s it.

Today I have a guest post about juice on LittleStomaks, a great blog devoted to toddler nutrition. I answer the question, “Is giving juice to my kids okay as long as it’s 100% fruit juice?” You can read it here.


Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

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