Froot Loops vs. Organic Lollipops: Battle Lines Drawn in Nutrition Wars

Benjamin LollipopsThe devil in me insists it’s fine to feed my children sugary snacks.

After all, their baby teeth will fall out one day and take all the damage with them, right? Plus, children are so marvelously active they burn off whatever nasty food they chow down.

Of course that’s a fool’s brand of logic. Even toddlers can suffer dental woes from a wretched diet, and childhood obesity headlines are a strong reminder of what happens when bad nutrition laps exercise.

So why do I enjoy the hero’s welcome my boys give me when I buy Froot Loops, Cap’n Crunch or some other God awful for you treat? I’m simply not as disciplined as my wife when it comes to nutrition, and that extends directly to the food I give our boys.

One of the earliest marital clashes we’ve had as parents involves, you guessed it, food. The Missus doesn’t want the boys drinking diet soda (NutraSweet is linked to lots of nasty things, allegedly), artificial flavors (chemicals = yuck) or insanely empty calories.

Me, I’m on board with all of the above re: nutrition until things get … complicated. The boys won’t eat their dinner, we need a distraction from a meltdown or I need a hero’s welcome really badly on a given stressful day. And watching the boys drinking milk … MILK! … with their pizza makes my teeth hurt.

My wife’s attempts at giving the kids healthy treats don’t always work as intended. She stuffed their Easter baskets with health-conscious goodies that the children swiftly rejected. Heck, I couldn’t even swallow some of those faux goodies down, and my palate is pretty forgiving. She recently fed homemade kale chips to Benjamin, and the look on his face told me he won’t be eating kale again until he meets a gorgeous vegetarian in college.

There’s no quit in my wife, and it’s one of a gazillion reasons why I asked her to be my bride. She recently ordered organic lollipops hoping the bridge the divide between the two of us.

It’s a fight worth winning.

I’m 44, and some of my current dietary choices directly link to my childhood. My McDonald’s Monday tradition is just one example, but so is the joy I feel wolfing down Pop Tarts and other reminders of my pre-teen days. My parents did a wonderful job raising me, but they taught me terrible nutritional habits that stick to me today.

That’s not something I want for my boys. And if it means eating a kale chip in front of them and putting on the greatest acting performance of my life (mmm, mmmmm!) I’ll do it.

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