Today I sent my son to school with a fried Spam sandwich.
There. I said it.
Before today my husband was the only one to give him Spam. I refused under the notion that Spam has ZERO nutritional value and, well IT’S SPAM! However today, when I ran out of surprising things to put in his lunch I opened the deli drawer in my fridge, saw the Spam and said, “fuck it, who cares what they think at his school, I’m sending him with something he likes.”
I’ve been reading so many blogs lately of parents discussing how they can’t get their kids to eat. Or how their kid only wants to snack etc. I’ve been down this road. For 3 years of Brandons life he fell on the 3rd percentile range of the weight scale and now his brother is following suit coming in at a whopping 10th percent. That means, for 3 years I’ve been struggling to fatten my kids up. What I’ve noticed works the best, is exactly what the doctors told me and letting my kids eat whatever they like.
I don’t often talk about my kids eating habits on here because I know there are so many people out there who would judge me for letting Brandon spend an entire year eating nothing but Cheetos, macaroni and sticks of cream cheese. These are the same people who will criticize me when I tell you that Codi eats nothing but pancakes, donuts and muffin tops. These are all people who either don’t have kids, or who do have kids but care more about appearances then healthy kids.
I’ve heard a lot of people say, that letting kids eat like this will develop bad eating habits. I find this amusing considering when I was a child I ate nothing but burgers with mayonnaise and cheese and scrambled eggs with hot dogs. Oddly I’ve grown up to love salads, veggies and good quality fresh food. That is because I was able to make my own choices about what I ate, rather then having them made for me.
While Brandon may have only eaten a handful of things a year ago, today he eats a lot. He loves almost all meat, steak, chicken, pork, salmon and yes, even Spam. He loves veggies. Asks for fruit every day after school. Loves yogurt and cheese, all cheese, and would prefer milk to a soda any day.
I think that is why Codi’s eating habits aren’t worrying my that much. I realize that he won’t eat pancakes for the rest of his life. I’ll keep putting food in front of him and I’m willing to bet, some day when he is ready he will eat. I follow the doctors orders and make sure there is always snack food accessible so I know that even if he isn’t sitting at the table eating 3 solid meals a day he is at least eating all day and eventually he will fall into a pattern.
So far, following this advice has worked wonders. Codi is eating at least 3 times a day. He is drinking from a cup and straw and he is eating enough to keep him sleeping almost all the way through the night.
I think I’m lucky that I was formerly a picky eater. If not I may have never recognized the importance of letting my kids make their own food choices. While I will never stop exposing them to different foods, I will also never force it. I can only hope my kids grow up loving fruits and veggies as much as me, and being as open about meat as my husband. Hopefully my open mind now will lead to an open mind for them later.