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My child likes Spinach.

I just wrote that for posterity’s sake so that in a couple of years time if she throws a tantrum about eating her veges, I can say ‘I’m sorry darling, but you like Spinach.  It’s an established fact.  See, it says so here.’

At eight months Eloise hasn’t (so far) shown a preference for sweet foods.  I’ve been quite surprised!  She tucked into spinach last night, and loves avocado, pumpkin and chickpeas.  Apart from baby custards, the only sweet things she eats are pieces of fruit.  She makes hilarious faces at the tartness of mandarins, but it doesn’t stop her from eating them, and she’s discovered what a glorious mess she can make with banana.  I’m looking forward to introducing her to berries as they start to come into season here.

I'm proud to say Eloise is a vegemite kid!

I’m proud to say Eloise is a Vegemite kid!

Eloise’s journey into the big, wide world of food has gotten me thinking about what values or ideas about food I grew up with, and what I’d like to do differently.

My family had many unspoken messages about food when I was growing up, some of which were:

  • Sweet treats are a reward for doing something good
  • All of life’s celebrations require food
  • Some food is ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’
  • Overeating is ok if everyone else is doing it (e.g. Christmas)
  • Healthy food is boring, but a necessary evil
  • Being a picky eater is ok (my Dad! Bless him.)

My parents are not bad people.  They wanted the best for us.  I don’t think the messages I grew up with around food are all that different from most families.  My mother in particular, had her own issues with food.  She tried many different diets, and even as a child I could see that she felt ashamed when she would ‘cave in’ and quit her diet.

Breaking my sugar addiction has freed me to work on my own issues with food.  Now I’m no longer at the mercy of my cravings, it’s easier to focus on choosing healthy food.  Today I can say that my diet is great 90% of the time.  In my sugary past, I would have struggled to have gone even one day without eating chocolate or some other type of junk food.  Most of my attempts at dieting only ever lasted a few days before I would fall off the wagon.

It won’t be easy, but here are the values about food that I would like Eloise to grow up with:

  • Food is fuel, not reward or punishment.
  • Stop eating when you are full.
  • Be willing to try what’s put in front of you
  • If your great-great-great Grandma would recognise it, it’s probably ok to eat it.
  •  Sugar makes us feel yuck
  • Good hospitality isn’t about razzle-dazzle meals with fancy ingredients – it’s about enjoying good, simple food in great company
  • Catching up with friends doesn’t always have to revolve around food.  Walks, bike rides, movies etc instead of meeting for coffee or brunch.
  • Party food is for parties.

Wish me luck!