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.

Sneaky Vegetables

January 17th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

I don’t post every day, but I write almost every day. There are several articles in the works, both here and over at ReneeAndElliott.com, our repository for off-topic articles. There is other non-writing work that goes on behind the scenes. Then I have to go live my life so I can blog about it. So yeah, I’m toast.

Even in this impaired state, I can still offer you one quick cooking tip. It’s an oldie but goodie with a new twist.

We all wish our children would eat more vegetables. Some parents have better luck than I do. A trick favored by many resident chefs is to puree vegetables and add the mix to various sauces.

The other night, I pureed a pound of carrots, added some to the spaghetti sauce. The remaining puree was poured into a couple of freezer bags. Next time I need some vegetable puree, I’ll just break off a piece and add it to the sauce.

For the next round, I’m going to use the ice cube tray to make things a little easier.

It’s so simple, a caveman can do it.

If you saved a bunch of money on your car insurance by switching to Geico, please make a donation.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Scorecard for 11/11/07

November 11th, 2007 . by admin

The last two weeks, I didn’t plan the grocery outing, so we ended up “outsourcing” more than I care to. Last week, I did a mid-week trip and brought home less than half of what I usually do. It was easy to avoid the dreaded substance.

This week, I did the full trip, with a bill to match. Out of the full week’s take, only three items contained high fructose corn syrup.

  • Publix Premium multi-grain bagels
  • Publix brand chocolate chunk granola bars
  • 2-liter bottle of Publix brand root beer

I can understand why it’s in the root beer, but granola bars and multi-grain bagels? Isn’t multi-grain anything supposed to be better for you?

For those of you outside of Florida, Publix is the leading grocery chain here. Many of their store-brand items are on-par with or exceed the quality of national brands. Their tagline is, “Where Shopping Is A Pleasure.” Publix Supermarkets are an oasis in a world where owners’ profits are more important than employee and customer satisfaction.

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