Wednesday, April 29, 2009

chicken tender confessions

One of my Mommy-Hero friends taught me the joys of Ikea. Now that my child is tall enough and potty-trained, she can go in the babysitting area and I can buy something I don't need, like a pink ice-cream scoop for $2.99 and then read a magazine for an hour. M usually makes a little friend or two in the ball-pit and shoos me away when I come to pick her up so I don't feel too guilty. (She's also climbing in and out of the pit, throwing the balls in the hoops and getting a little activity on a rainy day.)

We occasionally then have lunch which is interesting. Ikea has pretty cheap food, but its not the tastiest either. The turkey wraps look good, as do the little salads, but they're pretty bland and flavorless and not pleasant to eat. On a side note, I imagine this is much like what school lunches will start to taste like with the nutrition push (much needed though.) You can eat healthy and delicious food, but if I don't like eating the "healthy" options because of poor quality ingredients or how they are prepared, can we expect a 4th grader to pick it over the arguably tastier fried options? (On another odd note, a behavioral study found that menus listing "healthy" options actually increased orders of "unhealthy" choices!)

 M had her penne with marinara on the side, so she was happy. I usually don't know what to eat when I go there. (I bring drinks to save money.) So today, as I was contemplating meatballs and gravy, or nondescript sloppy Joes and the random crawdad buffet, feeling like I "should" eat a wrap or a salad but dreading it, I settled on chicken tenders and fries. Then I prayed that I wouldn't see anyone I knew.

You see, I'm starting to see moms around who recognize me. Moms from an ECFE or a parent group I talked to.  I felt like I had to sit furtively in a corner dunking my tenders into a tub of ketchup while sipping my Coke. (Meanwhile my kid was eating better than I was.) I enjoyed the meal, but like back in my doctoring days when I was on the lookout for patients, I am starting to worry about what my clients will think if they see me engaging in less than stellar nutritional situations. 

So, if you do see me out, enjoying fried foods and high-fructose corn syrup, recognize that its not always how I eat, that I enjoy it on occasion and so I have it. Perhaps I can inspire that a healthy way of eating includes "forbidden" foods if you want them, in balance with other foods. That I was satisfied after 3/4 of the meal so I left some on the plate, that I was able to model for my child an enjoyment of a "forbidden" food without making any comments about how "bad" it was, or how "guilty" I feel or that I will have to skip breakfast.

So feel free to come on over and say "Hi!" and know I won't judge you for getting real potato chips at Cubs, or full fat ice-cream from Whole Foods!

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