I fear I am a failure as a parent. As the school year begins, I have received updates that “healthy” food choices will be available to my children. There will be an emphasis on local, fresh foods and non processed goodies like carrots and fruit juices. When I shared this with my children they went bonkers – said they wouldn’t eat that stuff – that they would rather starve. What have I done to instill such an attitude? – Bad Momma in Kentucky
Dear Bad Momma,
Don’t fret. Since time began, children have asked their parents for advice and then did just the opposite. It is a part of the natural order of things. So, you have a couple of options: (1) tell your children that you will aid and assist them in smuggling pepperoni pizza slices and potato chips into the school cafeteria … thus making peas suddenly more palatable or (2) you can continue the long slog of parenthood by attempting to educate your children about food, its origins and the role it plays in health. For instance, children are going to cooking camps and classes in record numbers and are trying their hand at vegetable gardening. You don’t have to devote a large plot of land to this endeavor – even the smallest attempt such as an herb garden in your kitchen window sill can get a kid excited about food and where it comes from. Teach them about chicken nuggets – and that those are not actually features on a chicken. However, I would stop short of having them attend any classes that teach exactly what happens to that cute little chick on its way to the broiler. I will note that vegetarians are growing in number as more people engage in this educational activity and are saying no more meat. Finally, don’t fret. My aging baby boomer sister-in-law was reported to have deposited the school lunch serving of peas and other green veggies into her purse each day so as to avoid “healthy” eating. She is now in her sixties, healthy and smart with a Ph.D. So, just relax and check all pockets and possible repositories or get plenty of air freshener.