21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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My Junk Food Dilemma

January 31st, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Randy’s Donuts

Nutrition is on every parent’s radar. Some are better at it than others. I’ve learned over the years what makes for healthy eating habits, so imagine how appalled I was at Austin’s eating habits, which are, for lack of a better term, &*@#$! horrendous. Unfortunately, this knowledge doesn’t seem to do me much good since I encounter steadfast opposition to my efforts to reform this family’s eating habits.

When I met Renee, her eating habits weren’t the best. They weren’t the worst either. To her credit, she eats her food deliberately, takes her time to chew it thoroughly, and doesn’t overindulge with huge portions. She is usually willing to try my creations, as long as it doesn’t have shrimp. Single mothers have it tough, and one of the things that slipped through the cracks was nutrition. As a result, Austin didn’t develop sound eating habits.

The last thing any parent wants to see is their children suffer. It’s especially maddening when it’s the child’s own poor nutrition habits that cause this suffering. Then your efforts to help are met with resistance.

  • He usually struggles with the first class in the morning and the one right before lunch.
  • He has trouble concentrating and focusing.
  • He has trouble waking up in the morning.
  • His stomach is easily upset.

All of the above can be mitigated or even eliminated by making smarter food choices. But like most teenage boys, making his choices is far more important to him than making smart choices.

I was at the classic car show last week when it hit me. I’m the kind of guy who only cares about basic maintenance of a reliable automobile. This is in stark contrast to the level of care these car aficionados put into their vehicles. A car is a necessity, at least in the suburbs. Food is a necessity. I happen to care more about the food I eat. I love variety and I love knowing that what I eat is good for me. Austin only cares about getting from point A to point B, and there’s only a handful of ways he’s willing to do it. I prefer a Lexus and Austin is content with a ratty old clunker that belches smoke and leaks fluids.

A popular piece of advice for parents is to “pick your battles.” Rest assured I have a wide selection to choose from. Will the dinner table be another battlefront? This is my dilemma. His diet is less than optimal. I’ve warned him. He’s chosen to ignore my suggestions. Am I being a bad parent by letting this one slide? When I prepare something healthy, he isn’t hungry. When I stock up on pepperoni pizza Hot Pockets and Capn’ Crunch, his appetite returns. Isn’t it worse to let him starve? Weigh in on this one by leaving a comment.

To his credit, he tries a good amount of what I present to him, but like most teens, he will always choose the path of least resistance for short term gratification. Now that I started adding pureed vegetables wherever I can, he’s eaten more broccoli in one week than he has in almost 14 years. Heheheheheh.

I normally supply my own photographs to illustrate my articles. This one was too cool to pass up. The photo of Randy’s Donuts is by Carol Highsmith, and used here under a Creative Commons license.

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