Eat to live, or live to eat? A fun question that is posed regarding food. Do we eat simply to gain energy and get through the day, or do we love food so much that it becomes something to look forward to and revel in.
I love food. I love to cook, present, adapt and eat. I complain about the limited kinds (rather than amount) of kosher restaurants, I sigh with jealousy at the volume of hechshered american products.
I find myself so strongly on the ‘live to eat’ side of the argument, that I cant really see where the other side are even coming from. What, so you suddenly notice you’re hungry at random intervals in the day and find yourself a meal? You don’t use herbs or seasonings because it doesnt matter what things taste like? You dont have favourite meals that you get excited for?
I try and make sure that R has a varied and fun (as well as healthier than mine has ever been in my life) mix of foods. He has three big meals a day, and up to two snacks, and from what I can tell so far, with a few exceptions, he has joined his parents in the ‘live to eat’ camp. Perhaps more so than us, as I don’t remember a time that I needed tears to express just how much a fruit cup meant to me.
But I want him not just to have a healthy diet, but also a healthy attitude to food. And this I find harder to teach. As much as I’m so glad he enjoys to eat, and want to encourage his wide variety of tastes, I want to make sure that when he is ready to choose his own food, he makes sensible choices. Because really, neither ‘eat to live’ or ‘live to eat’ could be called a sensible choice. And one of the struggles I’ve inherited from my own gene pool, is maintaining a balance of not loving food too much.
There were many things that C and I discussed while I was pregnant, things we wanted to teach our son, things we wanted to begin or stop before he was born, so that he would never know any different. Having a child forces you not just to look at what you want from your marriage, but what you want from your family, and more importantly, what you want your own kids to want from their family. Making sure that your important values are imbibed in them from a young age, makes it so much more likely that what you care about is a no-brainer for them one day, and especially that your struggles are not the same for your children.
So I’m surprised it took me this long to realise that our unhealthy attitude to mealtimes and eating would one day rub off on him. It’s natural. If we are constantly grazing and snacking, and we cant watch a TV program without a bowl of something to nibble on, how can we expect him to keep his eating to breakfast, lunch and dinner. If we dont have the patience for cooking, and so grab a chunk of cake to tide us over, that will only be seen as normal for him when he is able to make his own choices about food. Putting a healthy mix of foods on his highchair every day is not enough, it’s learning by example that matters in the long run.
And so, a new eating plan commences. Food? Yes. And lots of delicious things included. But at mealtimes, and not late at night.. Healthy for us, Healthy for R, and Healthy for our future.
Wish me luck!