Yesterday was another “ah-ha” moment for me. I seem to be having quite a few of those lately. After picking up my daughter from pre-school, I had to run my a friend’s studio to pick up a proof CD. My daughter got busy playing with the toys while my friend and I conversed. When it was time to leave – FULL ON TODDLER TANTRUM ensued.
There were tears, screams, snots, – and the toddler was upset too. ( <–Mama humor ) I managed to get her into her car seat and headed home. As we drove past the fast food restaurants lining the road, she began to beg for French fries and chicken nuggets. And for a moment, I was really tempted to turn in.
But I kept going, she kept crying, and I got to thinking. I put so much time and effort into my training, preparing healthy meals and snacks to support my training, but very little time into doing the same for my daughter.
The truth of the matters is most nights she has chicken nuggets and milk while watching cartoons. No mother of the year awards for me. I realized that my life has become so “busy” that I am not giving my daughter (or husband) the time and attention that they deserve. While I blog about healthy living, my daughter is fed food that is barely above the “junk food” category.
And that is just.plain.wrong.
It has to stop.
So last night, instead of coming home, changing clothes, and heading into the gym, my husband and I prepared dinner together. We talked about our daughter’s eating habits, small changes we can make now, and our ultimate goals. Then the 3 of us set down to a meal together. So, what’s changing?
- My training schedule
- Yes, I will still run 3 days a week, and lift 4 days a week. But the lifting session will happen AFTER family dinner and while either my husband gives her a bath or she has play time in her room (hubby often lifts with me).
- My daughter’s snacks and meals
- My daughter is picked up from pre-school by her grandparents most days, and they have settled into a pattern of giving her a Chicken nugget Happy Meal as an afternoon snack. Not good. We are going to sit down with our parents this weekend and ask that they not buy these anymore. If my daughter is hungry after school, she can have a snack of either fresh fruit, yogurt, or a few other options.
- Secondly, we are going to attempt to get our picky eater to try new vegetables. I’ve created a chart that we will fill with a sticker each time she tries a vegetable. After the chart is full, she can redeemed it for a new toy or a special treat (i.e. pizza night with Mama and Daddy).
- How my Family eats supper
- Meals for the week will be planned on Friday nights, groceries and prep done on Sunday.
- The hubby will be in charge of meal prep on Mondays and Thursdays (my weekly run nights) and I will take Tuesdays and Fridays (his run nights), with leftovers for Wednesday.
- No more eating in front of the t.v. We will eat as a family at our kitchen table.
- Less Cartoons and More Play
- After family dinner, my daughter will have about an hour to play before bath time. We will use this hour to play as a family – hide-n-go seek, dress-up, games on the Wii.
- On Fridays, this hour will be devoted to watching a movie or cartoon together. I have all of the classic animated Christmas movies, so we hope to watch those in the next few weeks.
I know that creating a plan is the easy part. Putting the plan to work is where the challenge comes in. However, I know the reward (a happier, healthier, more connected family) is well worth the effort. I am also realistic in regards to my daughter and her picky eating habits. I do not expect her to fall in love with vegetables over night, and will consider it a victory if she will at least attempt a bite.
Do any of your Mama’s out there have tips for me on how to deal with my picky eater? Advice on kid-approved healthy meals? Suggestions on how to sneak in more veggies?