Monday, July 11, 2011

Teaching the Toddler About Food

We don't have true junk food in the house all that often, but a recent house guest has a weakness that I tried to head off by putting a basket packed with single serving bags of various chips in their room. Otherwise, they would fill our cupboards with large bags of Doritos and Tostitos etc... and we all end up eating a bunch of crap no one needs to eat.

The hubby, of course, found the junk food stash (like a Red Dye No. 5 bloodhound, that man) and got into the Cheetos. He offered one to the toddler.

She took the neon orange stick and looked at it, suspicious. She had never seen anything like it before. "What is this? A carrot? Yuck!"

"No, it's not a carrot," we told her.

"YUCK! I don't like carrots."

"It's not a carrot. Try it, you might like it."

She tentatively put it in her mouth, ready to spit it out at the first hint of carrot-ness. As it turned out, junk food is not an acquired taste, it's pretty much addictive from the first bite. She loved it and now knows what a Cheeto is.

By the time our houseguest arrived, all the Cheetos were gone and we'd had several conversations about how junk food is fun food, but not good for you.

Based on that incident, when she spotted someone at the pool with the same snack packs, she pointed and very loudly shouted, "Look over there, mommy. They have junk food! It's junk food! That's baaaaaaad, mommy."

Ah yes, my girl, the budding food police.

Then yesterday, we had the following conversation at the pool.

"Mommy, I'm hungry."

"We fed you. You are fine." (I say this a lot as 'I'm hungry' also means 'I'm bored' or 'I'm tired' or 'You aren't paying enough attention to me' or 'I want something but I can't tell what so I'll just ask for food'.)

"No, I'm huuuungrrrry," she wailed.

"Well Daddy ate all the extra kielbasa he supposedly made for just this moment." I gave Daddy the hairy eyeball and he smiled innocently. "How about we have some ice cream when we get home?"

She looked at me, horrified. "Mommy, there's too much sugar in ice cream. We can't eat that!"

I laughed. "It's low carb ice cream, babe. We can have it."

"No, we can't. It's not healthy."

"Well, FYI, that cookie you're eating is no better. It's not healthy either."

"But," she went into a tirade that I couldn't interpret ending with a crescendo of, "Too much sugar!"

Properly schooled, I capitulated. "So what would you like instead?"

"Ice cream!"


  1. My daughter did good for the first couple of years with my granddaughter. At her first birthday, she cried when she was offered cake and ice cream. Didn't last long. Since then, their garage has been packed with Costo-sized packages of junk food. Good luck.

  2. Hi Earl. I think we'll be okay at home (since I am trying to prevent diabetes aka motivation) but the world is awash in sugar. Preschool is full of cupcakes and cookies. It's just everywhere, so I doubt we'll ever be 'perfect' our environment is too polluted.

    O Magazine just had an article about the evils of sugar and then every recipe in the magazine? Was for pie!!!!! Every single one!



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