Once your child graduates from boobs and baby cereal, to something more substantial, here are ways to ensure the transition is a healthy one.
DO look at the ingredients in baby food and try blending that shit yourself. Putting different organic fruits and/or vegetables in a blender with some water or almond milk is healthier and cheaper, but it does take time. Just remember, though, Gerber Poops are rancid. So choose at the margin.
DON’T stress yourself out. Some are eating days and others are not. Let that little one guide you.
DO get out of the house – and move as often as possible. Take a walk every day. Take your babies to the playground, out in the backyard, or up and down the middle of the mall. They’ll be more apt to try your famous creamed brussel sprouts if they’re hungry.
DON’T worry so much. Kids don’t starve themselves, they just want to feel some control over their lives. Even as toddlers. Let them choose a meal every now and then. Keep in mind, they might have to try something 10 or 20 times before they like it. You’re in charge, not them. If you don’t make a huge deal out of it, they’ll give those grapes a go.
DO let them watch while you’re cooking, and in even small ways at first, allow them to help in the kitchen. Even if all they can do is help guide the spoon while you stir. They’ll love it and eat more, because they helped create the meal.
DON’T focus on the “eating” part. Meals are important because you’re spending quality time together. It’s supposed to be peaceful and enjoyable. Once or twice, I stood over Zachary and DEMANDED he eat at least one of the cherry tomatoes I took the time to cut up. Kid had to practically choke himself before my mother intervened and told me to relax. She was right. My children will have enough to tell their therapists one day, I don’t need to add to the list.
DO shop for groceries together. As they get older, encourage your kids to read labels, identify both healthy and unhealthy ingredients, and talk about pricing to get a feel for math. Pretty soon they’ll catch on that you’re spending a fucking fortune to ensure their health and well-being – let’s hope they remember this when someone offers them heroin.
DON’T give in when they ask (read: demand) nasty, fattening food. Find an overweight person, even if it’s you, point, and say, “Not on my watch.”
DO bring your own snacks when you go to theme parks, take road trips, and visit other places where all you can find are concession stands or drive-thrus where they fry shit on a stick and call it a meal.
DON’T buy a whole lot of bottled water. Use filtered tap and stock up on canteens. Better for our bellies and the environment. And lay off the juice.
DO exercise together as they get older. Toddlers love dancing, yoga, tae bo, and anything else you can find online if the local gym doesn’t allow children. Exercising at home is cheaper, too.
DON’T expect it to last. Pretty soon they’ll be embarrassed by those yoga pants you insist on wearing. But by that time, hopefully, their exercise routine will be a habit for life.
DO put a premium on sleep. Plenty of rest helps your babies grow, digest food, and feel better. Sleeping helps you, too. You’re less likely to end up sobbing in the hall closet over a misinterpreted Neil Diamond song if you’ve had enough shut-eye the night before. Trust me.
DON’T reward good behavior with food. Children should do what’s expected for the same reason we all do – money or the chance to brag about it on social media. Give them some time. And try to remember, that’s way better than diabetes.