I have never been a drinker. I’m not a gambler. In fact, I can’t seem to find an anonymous support group to help with my own personal struggles. If one existed, every meeting would probably start with me admitting, “Hi. I’m Kate and I’m a nutritionally challenged mom.”
Oh, the shame in that confession! If only it were possible to look around the room to see other sympathetic nutritionally challenged moms nodding their heads in understanding… because I KNOW I’m not the only one! Right? Even though most of my mom friends claim to be totally organic and say their kids have never stepped foot inside a McDonalds, I have a suspicion that they’ve sneaked them through the drive-through once or twice. But I’m not here to point fingers. I’m here to find help.
This is my problem in a nutshell: I’m a busy working mom and I don’t have time to cook. Or plan meals. Or really put much thought into what my family eats whatsoever. At least, I use my hectic life as an excuse to not do those things. But deep down, I know I can do better. I am starting to feel incredibly guilty about how little my husband and I are teaching our six and three-year-old kids about nutrition.
For a long time, I think Kyle (my husband) and I have been telling ourselves that we don’t eat too badly. Neither of us has ever really struggled with our weight, which makes us feel like our food choices must be halfway decent. We eat a lot of fruit and throw some occasional vegetables in the mix. We drink skim milk. We always grill our chicken. We almost never buy chips or “junk food” to snack on. And I think all of those habits are good – strung together with no rhyme or reason, but good.
But Kyle and I have a lot of bad habits too. We eat out a lot because it’s easier. When we eat out, we tend to let our kids drink (GASP!) soda and eat French fries. And I don’t always stop to think about sodium or calorie content before we order. When we don’t eat out, dinner at our house is rarely thought of before 6 p.m. in the evening. And this lack of planning (which should really begin in the grocery store) too often results in the same fast and easy choices being served to our children: hot dogs, quesadillas, macaroni and cheese, or grilled cheese and soup. Sadly – and this is oh so sad – they think that Hamburger Helper is an extra special meal. I could cry.
Not only do my KIDS not understand anything about nutrition, I feel like I really don’t understand much about it either. While I have an idea of what foods are considered “healthy,” I don’t know how much of those foods my kids should be eating or what their benefits are. I think if I did – if I truly took the time to understand my family’s nutritional needs – I might do a much better job of making healthy meal planning a priority. And in the process, I could educate my kids in a way that will forever help them.
As far as I’m concerned, ZisBoomBah is going to be my new personal support group. Overcoming my nutritional challenges is too important to put off any longer. I must make changes. My family’s future health could depend on it.