My husband came down on me the other day for “still giving the baby that crappy formula.” We had agreed to start feeding her pureed fruits and vegetables to supplement her milk, which I’ve been doing, but on this particular day, I admit, I was lazy and didn’t feed my 5-month old anything but formula.
I felt guilty and I knew that my husband was right. If he knew that sometimes I even give her bottled baby food, he’d die. Growing up in Slovakia, he was used to home-cooked meals made with vegetables picked from the garden. Eating out was unheard of or, “for people who don’t want to cook,” according to him, and he and his sister only drank soda at Christmas, as a special treat.
It wasn’t until he came to the U.S. that he had his first fast-food meal and he wasn’t impressed. Fast food, for him, is just a convenience, and he would never actually crave McDonald’s.
My parents, however, would bribe me with a Happy Meal whenever I needed to behave and, to this day, I love the fries (and hash browns … and apple pies).
But he loves home cooking and wants our daughter to feel the same.
I get it, so I’ve really started looking at how we’re going to nourish her and, more importantly, get her to understand the difference between nutritious food and food that’s not so great. We started reading health journals and watching documentaries on nutrition, the links between diet and most preventable diseases, and the epidemic of obesity in this country. We got a lot more than we bargained for, and the result was a total nutrition overhaul.
We immediately read all the labels in our pantry and threw out everything with chemicals, leaving us with nothing but a few spices. Dramatic, but inspiring. The sad part is that we eat relatively “healthy” by New York standards, and yet, we’re not conscious of the food we’re putting into our bodies.
I guess that’s an added role of being a parent — being a nutritionist as well. The good news is that our daughter is still a baby and we’re willing to make the changes now so she can grow up enjoying healthy foods and, hopefully, she’ll get a better understanding of how important it is to eat right.
We’re still in the early stages of our new way of life and I hope we stay in it for the long-term. Still, I can’t help but wonder what my husband eats at work or when I’m not around. As for me, maybe I won’t rush off to buy my daughter a Happy Meal any time soon, but I can treat myself to some fries every now and then, can’t I?