screw the (food) rules (for our kid)

Owen used to love a few different veggies, not most, but enough to get him decent balance. His favorites were broccoli and carrots.

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He’s never liked greens, nor, like his father, any form of what we call squash in America (courgettes or pumpkin types). String beans are a rare event. He likes peas okay, but they’re mostly fiber, not major “green vegetable” nutrition.

In his old age (3 1/2) he’s rejected pretty much everything but carrots, which he still loves raw as a snack. He’ll taste most new foods a little, but his standards are most summer fruits (especially watermelon and berries), his beloved apples, bananas, and mangos. Watermelon, raspberries, and mango he can gorge on to bulging. He’s not as nuts about apples but he seems to have a very special appreciation for and I buy a variety of types, organic, usually local, some small and some big so I can just hand him one while he’s playing, sized according to how hungry he seems, and it’ll disappear. Or I can ask him whether he’d rather have a sit-at-the-table lunch with sandwich or noodles and fruit, or just a snack bowl to sit with when he’s in deep-focus building mode,
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and he’s often happy to have a bowl filled with a couple of whole small carrots (we don’t often buy the baby carrots, but the nantes carrots from our weekly produce box are 5″ long), a sliced apple, a couple of ak-mak crackers, a piece of cheese.

But vegetables, aside from carrots? Just no. All that great fiber and those happy A vitamins? No.

But then I put some ideas together:

    • He loves mangos. As far as nutrition goes, they’re one of the better fruits. We haven’t been eating them lately because the wonderful keitt mango, so huge and not stringy and incredibly tasty, are out of season.
    • We used to carry “pouch food” like happy tot or plum organics in the car for his “must have snack NOW” moments, when we were under-prepared.
    • I need to flipping bend or abandon rules like “baby must have kale even if I have to hide it in special kale-and-chia muffins” that don’t work well for our family. We are just not going to be that perfect food family, just as we’re not perfectly tidy nor perfectly scheduled or perfectly AP. Our family is doing fine, our kid is thriving.
    • I’m not the parent who’s going to make daily hemp-seed-and-parsley smoothies. I might do it now and again. Maybe. As a joke.

So I started getting pouch food again, any mango blend that includes good veggies (he has no idea the mango-pear-spinach blend is “greens”), and am stocking the “on the go snacks” shelf with it, the food he doesn’t get regularly at home like “honest juice” blends, organic milk boxes, and gummy bunnies, the things I throw in my purse for if we’re having a long playground session and he needs fuel, for if we’re in traffic on the way to his grandmother’s house and he gets hungry. HE LOVES THEM. Mango has a lot of C and A, and once you start blending in green veggies, it balances nicely. He loves them. “You want a mango snack pouch?” “Yay, I love those!” And unlike the boxed milk and packs of gummy bunnies* he’s allowed to have them as snacks at home, too.

I give up. Screw rules. It’s perfectly good food.

*I’ve started trying to remember to use my amazon associates thingy when I link to amazon stuff so on the off chance someone buys something while still in a session from my click, I get a few cents with which to keep Owen in his book habit, and they require that I’m transparent about this. But I don’t always remember. Also, if you do smile.amazon.com you can pick a nonprofit org to get the money back.

**Annie’s gummy bunnies have vitamin C, are a vegan gummy option***, are so soft and tasty, and I love them, otherwise I might not include them. But I love them, so nyah nyah. They’re car snacks for me too.

***Many gummy candies are made with gelatin.

Thriving, I tell ya.

Owen says, "I am a fan of hiking."

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