Okay, so last week I was struggling with how to move forward after finishing our 100-day pledge. Should I still bring our own food to birthday party and other social outings? Is it okay to just sit down and eat a piece of dark chocolate? What about making cookies for no reason? Should I say yes or no when my kids ask me for something that was previously off limits? I know that anything in moderation is okay, but (to quote my husband) the slippery slope was probably what was scaring me the most. Not to mention we worked incredibly hard to master the art of eating real food and experienced improved palates as a result.
On the flip side one of my other concerns was that I would end up spending more time worrying about the food we were eating than actually enjoying it. I definitely don’t want that to happen either, and I certainly don’t want my kids to have a negative association when it comes to food. So when seeking the happy middle where does one end up? I do have to say that all of the comments from blog readers on my “struggle“ post were very helpful in all of this. Thanks to those words of wisdom and some other deep thoughts, here are some very general guidelines to help us move forward:
- When we are at home we are pretty much going to stick to our 100-day pledge rules except for special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations.
- When we are at a friend’s house or other social outing with friends/family we will eat whatever is available and not let ourselves worry about it.
- When we are out to eat at restaurants we will try to order as much real food as possible, but we will no longer be talking to anyone kitchen staff or turning away the basket of bread!
- I will let my girls eat treats at school for birthday and other holiday celebrations. Other than that I will try to keep things to a minimum if possible (for example they already give my 3-year-old a sticker instead of candy at the end of ballet class every week).
I am not saying these are hard and fast “rules” that we will follow 100% of the time because again moderation is key (three birthday celebrations in one day? I don’t think so). We also reserve the right to break some extra rules especially when we are out-of-town or having an unusually busy week. After our strict 100-day pledge we are very much warming up to the idea (and even beginning to embrace) the new freedom of flexibility!
So we dove right into our new “guidelines” by letting our 5-year-old eat what was served at a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party last weekend. I will say that I did give her some options before she went though. I asked if she wanted to eat the pizza at the party or have me pack her a healthier pizza instead. She made it clear that she wanted to eat the pizza AND the cupcake at the party. I said okay! I wasn’t there to see it, but from what I heard she scarfed down the pizza and cupcake (topped with neon pink icing) in record time. Although I can’t say I would have agreed, my daughter told me it tasted even better than she thought it would. I managed to be at peace with her happiness, but the weird thing is…(sorry for being a little graphic) about 24-hours later her poop was pink. Yep, pink. I couldn’t help but notice this very unexpected and unusual tint. What is up with that? Has anyone else ever seen an outcome (literally) such as this after lots of food coloring? Or did our recent “cleanse” have something to do with it? I was perplexed.
There is one last non-real food event that I must mention. This one hasn’t actually happened yet. It all started last week when my 5-year-old’s teacher called from school to let me know that Sydney had accidentally dropped her lunch all over the floor…before eating any of it of course. The teacher offered to take her through the lunch line to get something else and my daughter refused wholeheartedly. I suddenly felt the guilt. Have I scared her away from making her own food choices or is the lunch line just a daunting task for a newbie kindergartner?
I always assumed my child would never buy lunch, and that instead I would always pack some sort of healthy real food ensemble for her. But never did it occur to me that some sort of accident like this could happen! I rushed some back-up food over to the school, but as hard-core as I am about eating real food I will be the first to tell you I’m not running food over there every time something like this happens. So I put some money in her lunch account, and this Friday my daughter will be buying and eating lunch from the school cafeteria (yikes). This practice run will hopefully help her feel more prepared and more confident to handle things on her own if there is ever another incident. I am a little concerned she might like buying her lunch a little too much and possibly ask me if she can do it more often or even worse start purposely dropping her lunch on the floor. Please wish us luck with that one!
There will be some more exciting things coming up soon so stay tuned!