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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Healthy Food Scavenger Hunt

I feel like a lot of my daily mental energy is taken up by food: what to make for my family, how to get the boys to eat, what to give for snack, how to say no to requests for treats, how to get dinner on the table before 6pm, and how to manage my budget at the grocery store. Of course, healthy eating is something I strive for, but with so much to juggle, I can’t say that I always succeed.
As the boys get older, I find myself loosening the food restraints I have traditionally enforced. This is especially true for snacking. When our world was more home-oriented, snacks were always healthy, rarely sugary, and never ever given on demand. As our world has expanded to include school, sports, and play dates, I have been unable to follow through with all of my at-home rules.
Every Monday we have a play date with Henry’s classmates at the park. We all bring a snack, potluck style. At the beginning of the school year I always tried to bring fruits, nuts, or crackers. As time goes on, however, it is easier to buy a bag of cookies. I know how busy we all are and somewhere along the way I stopped caring about big buckets of cheese balls. I let the boys play with their friends and feast at the snack table, no matter what’s there. To be fair, there is usually a fruit in the mix, but the kids don’t really gravitate that way. The times when Henry would pick a strawberry over a cupcake are long gone.
Let me be clear, I ALWAYS want to eat cake, just like Sid does on the show. I totally understand the struggle for the boys. We just get in a rut, and I lose my routine. I sometimes need to reboot, and remind myself about what’s important for the whole family. Henry and Leo are learning the tools of how to make eating choices for the rest of their lives right now. In honor of Food Week on Sid the Science Kid, I am going to make some changes. The first step is to educate my boys about healthy foods vs. sometimes food.
So, Leo and I headed to Trader Joe’s to grocery shop and have a lesson about healthy eating. Once we got in and Leo was pushing his own little cart, we started talking about what kinds of food are healthy choices and which foods are only to be eaten sometimes. We decided that only healthy foods would land in his cart.
We began in the vegetable and fruit area and he clearly knew that both varieties are definitely healthy foods. When we moved over to the whole grains and bread area, he wasn’t so sure, but I helped him understand that this food group is important.
He was very happy to get these cookies in his hands, and not so happy to put them in the big cart. But he knew right away that this was a sometimes food.
Once again, Leo was way ahead of what I think he knows. He ran around that store on a mission. He never got it wrong. For some reason, Leo was insistent that I take his picture in front of the healthy yogurt.
Our last stop was by the chips and snacks. He loves to snack on cheesy crunchies, although he did know to put in my cart as a sometimes food.
Once again, it is evident my kids are way ahead of where I think they are. They can only eat what I offer them, and I feel like it’s my job to provide them with the healthiest foods I can. To give them credit, Henry has been known to insist that a mom call me when he’s offered a sugary snack on a playdate. Makes me proud. They will have plenty of time on their own in the future to choose for themselves. I just need to be mindful and not let the occasional “treats” become everyday routines.
What tips do you have about healthy eating? Tell me about some of your successes with your kids and healthy food habits.
NOTE: Leo fell on the corner of a coffee table last week. That’s why his cute little face looks a little blue. I keep telling them not to jump on the furniture…

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