Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in The Preschool Mommy | Posted on 14-08-2012
Tags: diet, food, Gina Perkins, Health, nutrition, Preschool Mommie, Preschool Mommy
Pasta. Lotsa pasta. The photo above is about as familiar to me as my own hand. Pasta has been a staple in my life since birth. In fact, my first food was probably a Parmesan rind. Well, that mixed with a dab of Brandy on the gums for teething.
I come from an Italian family who used food to celebrate, mourn, welcome, comfort and bond with one another. We spent more time sitting around the table than anywhere else. Honestly, I have such warm memories of hours-long meals, where the only thing louder than the conversation was the clinking of our forks on our plates.
So, you can imagine my Noni’s horror the day I held up my bowl and declared, “No pasta, only sauce.” It was blasphemous. No pasta? No pasta? While she reluctantly respected my request, she spent the rest of the meal eyeing me with suspicion. This was over 10 years ago – and she spent the following years looking me up and down, always saying “You’re too skinny.”
Oh, what I wouldn’t give for someone to accuse me of being too skinny today! Alas, I am still trying to shed my baby weight from having Bitzy 5 months ago. I am also struggling to find enough balance in my daily life to schedule in regular exercise. But, what I have absolutely made time for is eating healthily.
(Once a week, I take a yoga class with both girls. This is not enough, but it’s a start that I feel really good about).
I grew up with a pretty distorted image of myself, and became aware of my food choices pretty early on. But, like anything, education is a process. I have refined my diet over the years, and will continue to do so as I learn. I am now motivated by health, rather than vanity (though I’d be lying if I said my muffin top didn’t bother me! All in time….). And, I actually really enjoy grocery shopping – another way I get my kids involved in the process of preserving our family’s commitment to health.
My hope and desire is to set a good example of health for my girls. Several months back, my husband and I realized that we somehow fell into the ugly trap of bribing DJ with treats. “If you get into the car right now, we’ll give you a gummy bear.” Yikes, I shudder now to think of how much sugar I poured into DJ’s system in the name of cooperation! One day, I woke up and said “What are we doing?” We stopped that practice, but definitely do still allow DJ to be a kid. We do ice cream, candy, cookies, cake, etc – but all within moderation, and not as a reward for good behavior.
I don’t want to be fanatical about it, though. I don’t want to give the impression that any kind of food is bad. I just don’t want feelings of good or bad, to be associated with food. Then you get into all that psyche stuff – and I just don’t wanna go there! What I do want to do is cook delicious food, while including my girls – teaching them that really yummy stuff does come in green! (And not that I’m patting myself on the back or anything, but DJ LOVES Swiss chard).
When I was growing up, my favorite seat in the house was on the kitchen counter. To this day, whenever I go to my dad’s house, I hoist myself up onto the counter while he cooks. I believe that more than what was served on the table, what sparred my love for cooking was being involved in the process. It’s such a creative outlet for me, and I am desperate to pass the same impression onto my girls.
We spend a lot of time in the kitchen at my house, experimenting with different recipes and ingredients. I hope that my example allows my girls to grow up with a healthy attitude toward food. I pray that my investment in their health and awareness will save them from future body-image issues because they will feel vibrant and healthy. I’m hopeful that they’ll do better in school, with a greater ability to concentrate and stay engaged. And yes, I am hopeful that they’ll form more refined taste-buds and instinctively prefer whole foods to non-foods.