Rome wasn't built in a day. That's the mantra I keep repeating to myself. We eat high quality meat and fish and she still consumes that with zeal. My battle ground is defined as getting her to trade in the refined carbs for fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains. So far, experiences are mixed. She pretty calmly accepted my declaration that what's on the table is what's for dinner, period. She's been less thrilled that at least one bite of the vegetation is the ticket to dessert - a healthy one, of course. There have been differences of opinion on what constitutes a "bite" of vegetables. She also delivered an Emmy winning performance of just how bad the ridiculously small amount of kale tasted. There's been some sneaking, like when she substituted sugar for the salt on a batch of popcorn. She was surprised that I could tell! Then there are also the victories. The success of home made pizza wasn't a shock, even with the whole wheat crust. What kid doesn't like pizza? The big stunner came last night when she proclaimed that the beets, organic and fresh from the garden, were "actually not half bad." And she even took a second helping. I tried not to smile, so as to conceal my inner sense of triumph. Ah, but tomorrow is another day full of quixotic pre-teen twists and turns. I know better than to get smug, Rome not being built in a day and all.
Even this early in my experiment, I have some theories about this process. I believe that our children are addicted to sugar, in all its forms. Unfortunately, American families don't eat too many home cooked meals anymore. We are on the run a lot and rely too heavily on processed foods. If you look closely, virtually every processed food is sweetened, either naturally or artificially. And I'm not just talking about the obvious sources, like soda and cookies. I'm talking about ketchup, potato chips, chicken nuggets, and "fruit" snacks. If you don't believe me, read the labels. This doesn't even take into account the fact that the refined white flour abundant in so many of our foods creates the same spike in blood sugar. This sugar loading has instilled an obsessive drive for sweetness. At a bare minimum, it's deadened our kids' taste buds, making any non-sweetened food taste, well, bad. Emmy winning performance bad. I think that what kids need is a good palette cleansing. With refreshed taste buds, maybe real fresh fruit will be considered a delectable snack and the natural sweetness of beets can actually be appreciated. Just like when I fed them to her as a toddler. It's a theory anyway.