Adventure with children can be a double-edged sword. Yes, life with children is adventurous! The type of adventure? Well, that depends on the day or maybe the moment. Unfortunately, when it comes to food for American children, many don’t venture beyond the kid’s menu. And what is with kid’s menus? Really. Children are only allowed to like four things? Chicken nuggets, pizza, noodles or noodles with butter, if they are feelin’ particularly saucy.
Americans have a notoriously complicated relationship with food. We love it fast, cheap, salty and sweet. Despite our sizable intake, we spend less than any other country in the world on food. Conversely, we spend more money on healthcare than any other place on the planet – $9,237 a person to be exact. A funny little coincidence, I think not. Would we rather spend our hard-earned pennies on doctor’s bills treating illness? Or could we maybe spend a few dollars more on feeding our bodies food that nourishes health? Either way we have to pay. Why not make the payment tasty?
Now I know no one considers Mountain Dew a healthy drink but I wonder what people truly think when they discover what they are actually consuming. It goes a little something like this:
Grapes are a sweet reminder that summer produces the most delicious desserts. No baking required. With every bite, they ignite the taste buds for kids and adults alike. Tasty frozen or raw, grapes are versatile in the nutrition department. Not only can you satisfy a sweet tooth with a handful of grapes, you can obtain the following vitamins and minerals: vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium, and thiamine. And the bus doesn’t stop there. The juicy grape gives you riboflavin, fiber and a wee bit of protein. For those of you who thought protein is only available in animal products; it just isn’t true. Plants have protein too!
When I am not swimming in laundry or dirty dishes, I like to take a few minutes to reflect on who I am as a mother. Because I am always trying to stay afloat, this rarely happens. Until this year. This year I celebrated and stole moments to silence the chaos and this is what I found out about myself as mother:
May I get straight to the point? Depression is everywhere. Like an octopus its tentacles are enveloping our small people from every angle. Children around the world are being pulled under at an alarming rate. The suburbs will not keep you safe. The countryside does not lead to immunity. The world feels its poisonous reach as depression leads all known disabilities worldwide. This is not an American problem – this is a global epidemic and, no, I don’t feel epidemic is too strong a word.
I will be the first to admit I reward my children with food on the occasion. I love to find reasons to celebrate. Ask my mother-in-law. When she visits I find ways to spice up the day. Anything and everything can be a reason. You made it here in one piece – let’s celebrate! You recovered from jet lag – let’s celebrate! You survived our household for an entire week – let’s celebrate! Going for coffee (my mother-in-law) and tea (myself) is a primary example. And with the kids in tow, it may be a hot chocolate from our favorite chocolate store or an ice cream from our favorite chocolate store. Yes, they are one in the same. Because I like to frequently celebrate I have to find alternative ways to party with my children. A cupcake every time they smile wouldn’t be conducive to healthy living so I opt out on the food and zero in on the quality time.
Have any of your children ever made a mistake? I don’t mean an I-accidently-stepped-on-the-dog mistake. I mean a big, nasty mistake that left intense emotional repercussions. A fallout you had to pick up and show them how to manage. Maybe Susie hit her brother. Maybe Timmy excluded a friend purposefully and hurtfully from play. Maybe Michael didn’t let Janet be part of his little singing group. Maybe Marie lashed out at Donnie and told him a hundred reasons why she didn’t love him. You get my drift.
You will be hard-pressed to find a child that doesn’t adore strawberries. Unadulterated, strawberries are sometimes tart but always sweet enough to keep you coming back for more and more and, you got it, more. Now I know why I feel so good when I sit down with a small – okay, large bowl. While doing research, I was pleasantly surprised to learn interesting facts about the delicious strawberry.