Saturday, March 3, 2012

Food, Cookies and Childhood Obesity

I read an article this morning that led to this link. While some of it is stuff I did not know, a lot of it I did know.

The concept of childhood obesity is terrifying. Liam already has some odds stacked against him, both sides of his family have obese people in them. No way to sugar coat that. Obesity is linked to genetic factors as well as environmental ones.

I try to feed him well. Fruits and veggies, whole grains and not much processed food. But I confess, I don't always cook. I don't have the energy or the time with him running underfoot. I sometimes just can not fathom the thought of going to the store to buy fresh ingredients and we have a day of fruit leather, frozen veggies (which I have no issue with) and maybe a preservative free frozen dinner that includes a starch, a veggie and a dairy element or I add those on. Or we just have a good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Most days we eat fresh fruit, beautiful bread full of whole grains and seeds and goodness, he eats his veggies and is a lover of broccoli and cauliflower. He eats tofu and chicken and carrots, he eats apple slices and whole grain crackers and yummy cheese. But....I have given my son french fries from a fast food place. I also have fed him chicken strips from Burgerville, which I at least know are antibiotic free and local. Not that that makes a deep fried chunk of breaded chicken much healthier. But these are rare treats.

But I have at times given in. Once in a while we get a bag on candy and I have to say between me and Liam it does not last long. The limit is one piece a day for him, three for me and I get the mini sized pieces. Up until I was re-diagnosed with gestational diabetes I was baking a lot. Home made cookies... full of sugar and butter. I tried to pretend they were healthy. I used whole wheat white flour, local butter (Yay Tillamook!) and usually I made oatmeal raisin cookies so you got oatmeal and raisins.We have all natural cheetos in the car. But all natural does not make them healthy. It just means you are putting all natural oils and fats and corn meal covered in cheese powder into your body.

I worry that my love for baking and sweets will affect him. I worry that on the days I am too damn tired to cook I am setting a bad example just popping something from the freezer into the microwave and calling it dinner. At the time I don't feel bad, I just feel tired. It's when I sit here and think about it that I worry. I hope that as he grows and can help in the kitchen more I will be less inclined to just give in to my own tiredness. Or that we can at least prepare PART of a meal together. Right now all he can do is "wash" hard veggies like potatoes and carrots, and that requires me lugging the Learning Tower into the kitchen which is not high on my list of fun things to do at the moment while I have the energy level of a flattened frog.

I need to get him more involved in the making of food, but he just isn't there developmentally yet. I keep trying, but right now it makes more work for me, a huge mess in a room I can barely keep clean to begin with and usually ends with me banishing him from the kitchen before he either floods the place or smears something slimy inside all the cupboards. I just do not have the energy or the help to clean up after him all the time.This kitchen gets dirty if you even look at it funny. The floor always looks a mess and even the minute after I mop its a wreck again. Liam is a pro at emptying the cupboards of their contents and feeding Tupperware to the dog.

I hope I can keep the food aspect of obesity in check for him. I guess it shows something that I am even TRYING to get him involved. I know it will come in time. And realistically, I know I can't beat myself up for the days when its 5:00 and I realize there is nothing fresh to make into dinner. He still gets veggies and grains and dairy at his dinner, he gets fruit for breakfast and lunch. He gets healthy snacks and the cookies are kept to a minimum for now and probably will be after the new little one gets here and once more I have no time or energy to bake for a while.

And once it dries up outside some more we will go back to being outside every day, just like last summer. And back to the farmers market, back to walking around in the sunshine. Back to playing in the yard in the baby pool and picking berries and going OUT somewhere. The more we are out, the more likely I am to swing by the store and get something to cook for dinner when I have nothing at home to make.

I hope I can instill in him the value of exercise and eating well. I know that we will be keeping TV to a minimum, but I don't know about computers or video games... we are terrible about those ourselves.....

Being a parent is a LOT of pressure!!!

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