More or less, my husband and I eat very healthily. Visiting family often roll their eyes at us for the complete lack of food in our house, or rather, food that they’ll actually eat. We limit processed foods and rely mostly on homemade meals made of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. We, like most people, splurge now and then. It’s a life of moderation, we say.
The occasional burger during a Friday happy hour was never a big deal. This “sometimes” treat would always be regretted but nevertheless enjoyed in the moment. However, it recently became a big deal when our nearly 2-year-old daughter asked for a French fry at one of these splurgy dinners.
I cringed. He cringed. I very, very hesitantly gave her the smallest one I could find. She, of course, asked for another. At almost two-years-old, a French fry is a foreign food to her. I told my husband that our moderation should be hers, too, and that the occasional fry wasn’t totally out of line.
He disagreed, and the comment he shared with me really struck a chord. “If we wouldn’t feed it to her, we shouldn’t be eating it either.”
He made a valid point. I’m hyper aware of what I eat, but allow myself those indulgences. I’m also hyper aware of what my daughter eats, to the point that doting grandmothers get grimaces when they offer her juice boxes or adoring aunts want to “treat” her to chicken nuggets. Her diet is the cleanest of anyone I know, and she asks for avocado, cantaloupe, turkey, and yogurt by name. She doesn’t balk at spicy food and has a far more diverse palate than what I ever dreamed of having as a kid.
Now, if I do have her with me and I make an “unhealthy” pit-stop, I rethink the entire situation. Do I want her in there? Do I want to have to tell her no while I eat something in front of her? Do I want her to see me rushing through a meal while driving? Do I want to have to be fair and let her have a bite or two? The answer to all of this is no. I’m proud of the healthy habits I maintain for myself, and even more so how I’ve instilled them in my daughter. From language to eating and character habits, more and more I’m recognizing that she will, and does, mimic everything I do.
As if I didn’t already have the constant news stream here at DIR to keep me in check, now I have a pint-sized reminder of why those habits are as important for me as they are for her.
March 1st, 2012