Little, precious very-not-healthy presents
It has been a long holiday - 3 weeks long - probably the longest what I would recommend to do with small kids. Really, if you do not want to make any harm for yourself maximize holiday within 3 weeks. (especially if you move from one location to other as we did.) My reasons are:
- kids get used to the freedom very quickly - so they seem to forget all rules what you established with hard work: the eating routine and rules of table manner. They just want to snack all the time and preferably not cooked meals are in their mind...
- you can get tired of hunting for children-friendly food on the go
- also you can get tired of keeping up -as far as possible - their normal daily routine, like nap times, meal times, sleeping times
- if you meet friends and family you will end up with more sweets, cakes, ice cream and chocolate in your children's hand than you saw in your own entire childhood
Let me point out just one shocking moment: just 20 minutes before lunch time I found my 3 years old daughter eating a nice slice cake at the table in my parents house. Grandma - who raised three children and have never-ever offered a cake to me or my siblings before lunch - responded to my question briefly:
"She wanted to eat cake."
So friends and family are not your best ally in a healthy lifestyle - especially if they see your little family quite rarely. First they want to pamper you and your kids, secondly because they have different meaning of healthy eating. Also of course they do not know your families eating habits - or just they do not mind at all to break these rules...
Moment of truth
But I would lie if I said that I was surprised. I was prepared for this. I expected both of my girls to discover new things and among these new tastes and textures too. As you already know there is no forbidden food in our house (see my previous post on chocolate). I believe they need to know everything and be able to make the right choices.
At some point, there was the moment of truth: My daughter was given a small bag of gummy bears. She was playing with it for a couple of days - enjoying just looking at the colourful mini bears - before asking for opening up the package. Once I opened she tried them then after a couple of minutes she said:
- Mummy, I do not like these. Please close the bag back.
So we wrapped the bag back with cling film and she carried on playing it. It is still in her little ladybird bag.
And I was also happy to see that she tasted the cakes and chocolate, but she stopped after a couple of bites. But she quickly discovered the amazing fruits in season. She just couldn't stop eating grapes, pears, plums and peaches.
This was a kind of triumph for me and proved that I am on the right track providing the taste of real food for my family in our everyday life. They do not need added sugar or salt to enjoy a meal. I am not naive, I know that she can be hooked by sugar easily, but my job, as a parent is - through my and their dad's personal example - to show them the right, healthy balance. Of course at the same time I really appreciate their natural curiosity and open-mindedness. Also, I respect their opinion based on their experience. I never force them to eat anything and never forbid them anything. So I did not have any comment when she put the gummy bears back into the bag.
For my part, well, I wasn't a saint again. How could I have been? We were on an unfamiliar field. As mentioned above planning ahead was impossible. I concentrated on keeping up some kind of balance in my diet, and set up limits. So I reckon - taking into account all the creamy-fatty-sugary temptations - keeping my pre-holiday weight is a good result. And I really do not regret all the ice cream, and cakes and tasty wine what we had. But to be honest, the very different diet (eating more meat as we normally do and less dairy and veg) was a bit pain. So I could not wait to come back home and take over control on our family meals again.
Probably the most challenging for me was to drink enough fluid. This a good lesson to learn and to think ahead next time.
But at the bottom line I am happy as we all faced challenges and we all got them very well.