A Diary of a Health Conscious Mom

As many of us moms try our best to feed our kids healthy options, you might relate to my constant daily struggle especially over the holidays when you are surrounded by friends, family and endless temptations! In a culture that considers sharing food or buying someone a special “treat,” a sign of love and friendship.
Have you every been to your parents or parents in-law for lunch and they make a huge effort to buy your kids their favorite chocolate cake coated with Smarties, the famous red velvet cake covered in icing or the donuts glazed with sugar? If you say no, they find it offensive and try to convince you that just a little bit of cake and Smarties is good for them and that I shouldn’t be so harsh and obsessive about all this mumbo jumbo I learned about from nutrition books, “we all ate cake, and we turned out fine!”

Despite my efforts to remove all sugar and processed food from my house, only include the wholegrain freshly baked loafs as well as organic or chemical free local produce whenever I can and cook everything from scratch, once my kids leave the house, I have no control over who gives them what or what they decide to eat. If I take my kids to a birthday party and there are over fifty kids munching on cupcakes, candy, candy floss, hot dogs, pizza, sweets, sodas and deep down I know I might as well be handing them poison or rubbish to eat but how can one say no and let them watch?! Or make them feel deprived? And even if you do say no, how do you know they won’t be even more tempted when you are not looking.
In my personal opinion, moderation is key. At home they know, I only have water in my fridge and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Their meals always include vegetables, whole grains and lean protein and when they want something sweet, they have no other choice other than having a few peaches, apples, mangoes or bananas.
Their lunch boxes always have clean wholesome nourishing options and they come home and ask me why they can’t have Nutella or take biscuits like the other kids and of course hate me for a few minutes for having sent a “boring” snack. I try to stay strong and convince myself that one day they will appreciate my efforts and try to stick to my principles. I do take the time to explain what happens to their little bodies when they eat this junk and teach them to differentiate between healthy options and unhealthy ones.
I explain how eating nourishing clean food helps them have more energy, makes them brighter, and strengthens their immunity. I try to make it relatable to them, for example I explain to my son what a better athlete he can be if he fills his plates with nutrients versus packets of empty calories.
And yet, on Pizza day in school, I don’t deprive him from joining in with his friends and on birthdays both my kids will have what everyone is having and when we go to our family visits once or twice a week, I won’t deny them grandmas cake but they do understand that this is a “treat” and an exception.
Even though it feels as though I am battling the world sometimes and they might all hate me for it now, I hope I can teach them to appreciate the importance of food on their health and that there is no greater gift in life than being healthy.
By Nadine El Alaily to Y.A. who asked for advice!
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