Please welcome Mandy! She’s navigating a minefield here. Horses for courses, dudes!
It really is one of the trickiest areas (along with asking if someone is pregnant). Other people’s shit food for their kids. It sounds harsh I know, but really it makes other parents lives hell. Like mine.
I do care what other families eat. It is my profession, kid and family nutrition. But what you do at home, away from my family, is also your own private food life (unless you ask for my help). But when you come into the public view, or more importantly, my 3 year old’s view, then it personally becomes my problem.
I put a lot of effort into my children’s diet. I love food. I love to eat it, cook it, touch it, feel it, lick it and of course talk, read and write about it. It is my life. Having young children I am (along with my husband) personally responsible for their nutritional education and health, as are you with your kids.
So what the hell are you doing bringing shit snack boxes into the playground that my kid wants to eat now?
Thank you for bringing fluoro skittles to the picnic!
Thank you for offering chocolate coated biscuits before my kids have had a chance to eat some of their lunch.
Thank you for having Burger Rings at a 2 year old’s birthday party.
Unfortunately not everyone has the same ideas, views, education or interest in health, food or nutrition as you or I might have. So what are some ways to be able to avoid a show down between Sally’s mum and yourself ?
- She/he doesn’t like it!
I have used this one a few too many times. Often there are foods out there that Isadora or Maya have not tried yet so I pretend they do not like it, even if I know that they probably would like it. This is easier with Maya as she is younger (9months). But with Isadora who is 3, I tell her that it tastes disgusting, just like a food she doesn’t like i.e. olives. I know I am lying, but I don’t want my kids eating sherbet or skittles. Not yet at least.
2 2. We think she/he has an intolerance to foods containing ‘this’ ingredient.
Again, maybe a lie. But these days food intolerances and allergies are more common so people respect this response immediately. You could also say you are trying an elimination diet to identify what the causal food is.
3 3. Prepping your kids
I have started to do this with Isadora before we go somewhere where I know there will be kids eating foods that I don’t want her to eat. I talk to her and tell her calmly that while we are out she will need to eat what is in her snack box or in my bag. The other kids’ food is just theirs today. I then tell the parent that we are trying to get Isadora to eat her foods first (then have a giggle and talk about how much effort I put into preparing and I don’t want it to be wasted hahahaha).
- We are trying a new plan at the moment.
You will see on social media and around the blog trap a lot of food challenges. This month alone I have seen additive free, natural food and an unprocessed challenge. Pick whichever you like and use it as an excuse. “Oh we are only eating unprocessed foods this month so I really want Billy to stick to it too.”
- Or simply, “I don’t want my kid to eat that”.
It might cause a little nervous laughter or a full on scrag fight and I don’t know which one of you will be more embarrassed. You could always explain why as well. “Umm… we would prefer Johnny, as he is only 1, to not drink coke yet. I have heard that it can lead to insomnia in children, plus we really cannot afford the dental bill hahah!” A little nervous joke at the end!
The fact is, just like adults, we come across food situations we would prefer not to be in. Unfortunately little kids often want the sometimes foods all the time and you are nervous about the effort you put into their everyday foods being railroaded.
Of course there is no harm in scoffing biscuits or a few chocolates every now and then. It is more of the everyday occurrences and interactions with friends where your sometimes foods are their everyday foods which is where the real fun starts.
I always hope that by leading by example some people, if they are interested, will see that your options are better for their kids too and start emulating your food choices.
Puft, kids and food. The battle is endless but I hope this gives you few ideas to put into action in the battlefield aka playground!
Here are some playground snack ideas:
(I am a Mama to Isadora (3) and Maya (9months). I write at my blog Little People Nutritionabout food and nutrition for babies through to little kids. I write on general food topics, recipes, complete little supermarket investigations and food news around kids nutrition. I am also a nutritionist and food scientist having worked in the food industry in various roles for over 10 years. Come by and say hi.)