Spike TV’s Surviving Disaster Ended My Worries About Picky Eaters
I was a relatively relaxed first-time mom, but that doesn’t mean that I had no worries. And maybe it’s my genetic heritage talking – my mom is Ukrainian – but months before it was time to start introducing solids to Ben, I started thinking about the importance of feeding a real live baby human being. What would it be like? How much would he need? And – gulp – the whole balanced diet thing. Would my kid be the one who refused to eat anything but cheese sandwiches?
My parents always had a relaxed attitude about food, and I wanted to be the same. They had a “one bite” rule where you had to try things, but you never had to clean your plate, or finish every bite of your vegetables before you were allowed to have dessert. Food never became a fight in our house, and I didn’t want to be fighting over eating with my kids without an extremely good reason. But how would I know when we had reached “a good reason”? When would it be enough, and when would it be not enough, to keep them healthy?
So I did what I always do: I started researching. A lot. This is how I deal with stress, which is why I had a fairly enormous library of parenting books before we were even ready to conceive. So, the books came off the shelf, the Google searches began, and I started reading about kids and diet.
I found some tips that appealed to my laziness quotient, especially making home-made baby food out of whatever we were eating for dinner. Squish peas with a fork? I can do that! I did make some fruit purees to freeze ahead of time – stuff like peaches and plums that I needed to cut up and steam for a few minutes. But for the most part, I knew that my husband and I ate well, so if Ben ate what we ate, he’d be getting a good mix. IF he ate what we ate.
I found some great recommendations about quantities, because man, it’s easy to forget that our notion of “serving sizes” are out of whack for adults, let alone infants and toddlers. My doctor directed me to a brochure that pointed out that the adult guidelines could easily be scaled for children. So, an adult sized meat portion is the size of a palm; a child sized meat portion is the size of the child’s palm. And I looked at my son’s hand and thought, “Wait, that’s IT?! That tiny little palm is one meat serving? His thumb equals a cheese serving? That fist is a serving of fruit?” It was such a tiny, tiny amount.
The same brochure pointed out that little kids balance their diet over longer than a day – so, today he might eat ten fruit and veggie servings, tomorrow fifteen grain servings, the day after five servings of protein. Okay, I can handle that.
At this point, Ben was starting to eat solids – but secretly, I was still fretting. I mean, we were still introducing foods, but what if he just wouldn’t eat something? Like what if my kid hates cheese and yoghurt? Aside from wondering if I should be getting a DNA test to confirm he’s mine, what do I do?
And of all places, the reassurance that everything would be fine came from a Spike TV show called Surviving Disaster.