Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Your kids eat healthy...until they go to Grandma's

So you've managed to transition your kids to healthy food. Congratulations! There's just one small glitch...Grandma doesn't follow the same healthy eating rules that you do.  In fact, Grandma doesn’t follow rules.

At Grandma's, anything with the word "pop" is readily available and widely acceptable. Soda pop, pop tarts, popsicles, ring pops...the list is never ending and the time of day is irrelevant.  Fruit Snacks must be good for you because they contain the word "fruit." And let’s not forget candy and cookies.  How bad could high fructose corn syrup really be? 

You want your kids to eat healthy foods, but spending time with grandparents is important too.  What’s a healthy mom to do?      

After talking with numerous parents and even more grandparents, I offer the following advice:

Time with grandparents is precious and should be treated as such.  At the end of the day, it’s all about creating a fun and memorable experience with your child and his/her grandparent.  These experiences may include chocolate chip cookies, ice cream and candy.  That’s ok (as painful as that is to say).  Remember: everything in moderation.  Just make sure they get a few extra servings of fruits and vegetables the following day to make up for it. 

Don’t underestimate your child’s ability to influence his/her grandparent.  The first time my Dad took our oldest out to eat, my son ordered a fruit cup and milk.  Once kids begin to realize the benefits of healthy eating, they begin to make healthier decisions on their own.  It’s an amazing experience.   

So while you may feel like this is a battle worth fighting, let me suggest that you simply step back and look at the big picture.  These are critical bonding times between your child and your parents.  Let's let them create their own experiences and traditions.  As my mother always says, "what happens at grandma's, stays at grandma's."  I think I'll just leave it at that knowing that this is all a part of their experience together. 

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