As a dietitian, I try very hard to a) be helpful when asked and b) not be bossy and preachy and in everyone’s business when it comes to food (my husband may disagree with this).
I really don’t want to be That Mom. You know her: The one who rails against toxic diapers in landfills while you’re changing your baby’s Pampers.
Which is why I’ve kept quiet about soccer snacks. Until now.
Let me tell you about soccer. The Capri Sun flows like water at soccer. There are Pringles. And Ritz Bits. And Oreos. And cupcakes. Sometimes Oreos and cupcakes. It is a six-year-old’s paradise at soccer.
Last week it was my turn to bring the soccer snacks. I spent $12 on apples, washed them, loaded them into a cooler, and dragged them to the game. Frankly, I felt a little self-righteous: I would show everyone that tired, hungry, post-game kids would happily eat a crispy apple. Without saying a word–without being That Mom–I would prove my point.
After the game ended (in a stunning 6-0 victory) the kids swarmed around the cooler, grabbing at the shiny apples.
Until word got out that someone’s dad, who thought it was his turn to bring the snacks, had individual bags of Doritos. And not only did they take off running, they also threw their apples back into the cooler.
I know what some parents say: “It’s just some chips, let the kids have their fun.” But it’s not just chips at soccer. We’re feeding this kind of junk to our kids everywhere–at preschool, at school events, at parties. And at Saturday morning soccer games, which amount to a total of (maybe) 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, and where all they require is a lot of water and a good lunch at home afterward.
Look: I know the parents bringing the Kool-Aid and the Nutter Butters care just as much about their kids as I do. Which is why we all need to stop and consider what our children need, not what they want. My first grader would prefer to never brush his teeth ever again, and my toddler would like to play outside in his pajamas when it’s 40 degrees. But I know better. That’s my job as a parent.
So, what did I do with all of those leftover apples? I made a double batch of crockpot applesauce, which Henry and Sam devoured in less than 24 hours.
Oh, and t-ball season starts next week. Guess who’s going to be That Mom?
I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat, Play, Love blog carnival hosted by Meals Matter and Dairy Council of California to share ideas on positive and fun ways to teach children healthy eating habits. Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don’t get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.
The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum Flavor, Dayle Hayes, MS, RD
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order Cook, Christy Slaughter
Cut to the Point – My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them Cooking, Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Guierin, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along? , Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters: Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family Eating, Connie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give UpDiane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About Eating Mindfully, Michelle May, MD