This is the conversation you might have overheard in my kitchen this morning:
"Can I have some chocolate?"
"Please? I really want
"No not now, maybe later"
asking, it is not chocolate time"
"I really WANT some chocolate"
discussing it anymore, it is breakfast time, not chocolate time"
"I hate you, you won't let me have chocolate"
This is a
typical conversation (if you want to be so civilised to call it that) that often
occurs in our household. It's not just between myself and my husband either... Just substitute the word 'chocolate' for 'biscuit',
'crisps', 'muesli bar', or whatever you fancy. It is like groundhog
But it has got me thinking. Children have very little control over
what they eat. (Well in this house anyway). I allow mine choices between healthy
options or try to make healthy versions of 'junk' foods. We do eat rubbish like
McD's once in a while and I do bake the odd cake but generally I try to ensure
they have a healthy balanced diet. If there is any junk to be had it is usually
on a Friday, on the weekend or on a special occasion. And even then they have to
eat something healthy first to counterbalance it!!
I am pleased to say
that they like to eat their vegies and don't really eat much rubbish.
Consequently they are fit and healthy. However there seems to be a BIG double
standard going on. They aren't allowed junk everyday, yet it seems that I can
have it whenever I fancy it. I control pretty much every morsel that passes
their lips, but I can't control myself.
At the playgroup we go to, the
children sit and have fruit for morning tea. The adults have biscuits or a slice
of cake. The children see this, they are fully aware and they protest at the
injustice of it...even those who are a mere age of 1 or 2. Something about that
doesn't sit so well with me. (I have been known to either forgo the biscuit or
sneak one to my son, but sometimes I just wait until his back is turned and
gobble it up. Some mums are happy to just eat it infront of their children and
explain "it is just for mummies"....fair enough, that is their
After pondering this issue I have realised that this sort of thing occurs quite often. For example, when we go on a
long car journey, my husband and I sneakily eat sweets to pass the time while
the boys munch on fruit, breadsticks and raisins.... When we go out for
icecream, they are allowed a small, child's scoop while we have a massive double
scoop. The more I think about it the more instances I can see it occurring.
Now I know that is what we are supposed to do, to guide our children
into healthy habits as well as maintaining our responsibility for keeping them
safe and healthy. But what about ourselves? What has happened to the
responsbility and control to maintain our own levels of health and
So I am going to try an experiment. From now on, I am only going
to eat non-healthy food when my children do (and only then if I have the points
available and if I really want it). If I am not comfortable or happy to let them
have a biscuit, chocolate, or whatever, I will not have it either. If I want to
eat a sneaky bite of cake or handful of sweets or spoonful of ice-cream, I will
have to call them into the kitchen and give it to them too.
I am hoping
this will make me think before I snack as well as make healthy choices for
myself in the same way that I do for them. (Rather than completely dissolve my
standards and turn the kitchen cupboard into a free for all..)
there are going to be exceptions such as evening meals out or the odd glass of
wine, and some of that is the pleasure and freedom of being an adult. But I am
going to try it as a general principle and see what happens.