I'll be the first to admit that my interest in nutrition borders on obsession. My list of things I like to avoid is so long, I might as well just limit my time in the grocery store to the produce section. This would be impossible, because they don't put the frozen pizzas, pretzels and soda that my husband enjoys anywhere near the organic carrots. Like YourTango contributor Kait Smith recently wrote about, my husband and I, too, are polar opposites when it comes to food. A quick peek into my shopping cart would leave most folks puzzled. Quinoa and Stouffer's Salisbury Steak? Hmmm.
Aside from eating more than burgers and fries together than I care to admit, he and I have gotten along pretty well despite our different diets. Then our daughter started joining us at the dinner table and reaching for daddy's definitely-off-limits snacks. You can only exclusively breastfeed these kids for so long before they start realizing there's more out there besides the boob juice.
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At first it was easy. We bypassed purees and started our daughter off with small, soft finger foods, like steamed veggies, bananas, avocados, pasta and rice. Now that she is nearly a year and a half, pretty much anything is game. Daddy just walked in with a greasy bag of fries? Let me at 'em!
So what's a health nut to do besides whine, cry and fear having to parent that child who only eats chicken nuggets? I scare the crap out of my husband by making him read the research and watch the food documentaries warning us against anything other than a whole foods diet. I know I won't have control over our daughter's eating habits for very long (and that studies show the control that I do have is somewhat limited anyway). I understand that the more I forbid things, the more she will want them. But I have to give my best shot at giving her the very best start. I can't allow her to taste and indulge in junky foods before she has established that fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein comes first. Sweets and other snacks are a treat that you occasionally get after you've fueled your body with the good stuff first.
Every few days, I think I have my husband on board with me. He understands how harmful processed, chemical-laden foods can be for small bodies, and he doesn't want her to have the same, often challenging, food aversions that he has. Then I'll catch my daughter with a mouth full of organic barbeque-flavored snack fries. No, the organic part doesn't help when you're talking about "snack fries."
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So far, we haven't had any major battles over her eating habits. He and I are co-parents and I cannot control every little thing he does while he is with her. He knows that fast food is off limits, as are sweets and dairy products. Will a pretzel or french fry every now and then turn her into a picky eater? It isn't likely. In fact, it's safe to say she will go through a choosey phase no matter how much effort I put into her diet. So I try not to make it a point of contention in our marriage.
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