If you are the mother of a young child, the above topic must be your favourite after baby sleep and diapers. What your baby eats and what you want him to eat can be as a big a difference between the north and the south.
When I was pregnant, my hubby and I spent hours discussing how we would always eat healthy so that our baby would imbibe healthy eating right from day one. No chips, no colas, no burgers, no processed foods etc etc. I am sure someone must be laughing every time we discussed this and calling us fools for thinking it would turn out exactly like this.
In the first year it was easy. Sia would eat everything healthy. Pureed carrots, avocado, pureed banana, soups, mashed potatoes, khichdi, whatever I gave her she was grateful for it and ate it happily. She did not know about temptations like chocolates, chips and colas and we all were blessed. Till she started visiting friends homes for get togethers and birthday parties.
Now it's easy to think you can keep a control on what your family eats but to think that your friends will eat differently too just because you had a baby is taking it too far. So our little baby who till now had survived on fruits and veggies took her first bite of the 'enviable' chip and the first sip of the 'mighty' cola. It was all downhill from there. We parents who had never given these foods to her suddenly became villains in her eyes. How could we have deprived her from such gastronomical delights? To add to our misery she attacked the cola and chips with such relish that our friends couldn't help commenting how much junk food our daughter ate. It was amazing. We had become the culprits of a sin we hadn't even committed.
As Sia grew older, I realised that fretting over what she ate and didn't eat would get me nowhere. It would surely build my blood pressure though. So instead of laying down hard and fast rules of what she could eat and could not eat we worked out a more flexible eating schedule. Instead of monitoring how much and what she ate on a regular day to day basis, we made it a weekly schedule. Children often eat less on one day and then make it up on some other day. They may not eat well for three days straight and then fil their tummies up in one day to cover up. So keeping a tab on a weekly basis was easier.
So it was decided. Tiffins and breakfasts would comprise healthy home made dishes. So would lunch and dinner except if we were eating out. French fries would be once a fortnight affair if we were visiting a mall and chocolates would be just one small piece a day. Biscuits would be just two a day often substituted by grapes or banana if we could manage to convince her. Adversity leads to innovation so I started making French fries at home with veggies like 'arbi', parathas stuffed with green veggies cut into different shapes to make them appealing, star shaped cookies made of whole wheat at home, nachos baked in the oven made of whole wheat, French toasts cut into round shapes laced with honey, suji cheelas served with a little bit of tomato sauce which she loves.
I realised this flexible approach worked much better than a totally rigid one. Since she knew she would get her chocolates and French fries occasionally she was more open to trying healthier foods on other days. Making her eat became a lot easier and we stopped losing sweat over the chips she devoured at a friends place since we knew we cover up for the disaster the next day at home.
I am a working mother and my daughter made me a smart cook. She now looks forward to the things I make for her. It has been a long process but quite satisfying as she came back one day from school, her tiffin all empty and said, "Mamma you make nice food for me". Well, what more can a mother want?
Till my next post! You can write to me at http://mammamania.in