War, apparently.

Can anyone think of something more passive-aggressive than a parent secretly hiding  ice cream in her child’s freezer, and then not mentioning it, when they are both on a full on diet?

While I’m aware that this is more amusing than pure evil, suggestions for an appropriate retaliation would still be great.

How many calories are in this asprin?

A little bit of everything in moderation. This time of year, with new years resolutions flying out of everyone’s mouths carelessly, it is easy to get carried away with goals and hopes for the year ahead. My new years resolution started in November, with my healthy eating and getting into better shape kick, and it’s actually going really well.

However, I started it because I felt very strongly that I didnt want my son growing up with the same bad habits as I have. Whatever the reasoning, my own mother didnt have those worries. She talks of how my grandmother had very little idea about calorie content or healthy choices, perhaps because she grew up in wartime, or after losing her family in the Holocaust, simply had more important things to worry about. A story my mum loves to tell is how her mother would cut a large slice of cake, and offer it to one of her family, Upon being told it contained far too many calories and was bound to make the eater put on copious weight if consumed, she would lift the cake in her hand, testing the physical weight, and announce “Light as a feather!”

Amusing. Two generations later, not so much. My own family cannot plead ignorance. We are beaten to death with statistics of obesity in this country and abroad, it is hammered into us how important getting your ‘5-a-day’ is, and we are all aware that if Calories > Exercise = Not fitting into that new dress.

We have the knowledge. My parents generation had it also, but somehow, in my case, it failed. I struggle with the same eating patterns as my mum does. When I grew up at home, it was perfectly acceptable to finish supper and then go decide what snack to munch on throughout the evening. A packet of biscuits was rarely left unfinished once opened, same with a stack of pringles or a box of chocolates. One was never enough.

And so my ‘healthy eating’ or weight loss kick, or whatever you want to dub it, is more complicated than everything in moderation. Because that very idea battles a lifetime of bad habits that are far harder to shift than my weighted hula hoop. Indulge in one doughnut on the first night of Chanukah, and I’ve found myself craving one each day. Open the snack cupboard which I’ve ignored for 6 weeks, and suddenly I find myself being gravitationally pulled in its direction each time I enter the kitchen. For me, going cold turkey is the only way to keep it up. And once I do that, it becomes easy.

I stop thinking about junk food and eating between meals, and focus my attention on what to have for breakfast lunch and dinner instead. If I know that food for the day stops at 9pm, I’m not even envious when I see C reach for the minstrels bag at 9.30. It’s about changing my mindset.

And with it, I think I’m changing the way I feed my son. I’m much more reluctant to reach for the cheerios because he’s being a pain. I don’t hand out treats every time I go in the kitchen with him. I focus on making sure he has what he needs at mealtimes, which include a mid morning and mid afternoon snack, and because he doesnt see me eating at other times, he doesnt want anything either.

Regimented? Yes. And I’m not saying it would work for everyone. Some people need to know they can have that 2 squares of chocolate at the end of the day, or make the exception because it’s a special occasion. But those people tend to have healthy eating habits ingrained already, and have just overdone it over the festive season, or had a change in situation which led to less activity or attention to meals. Not to belittle their efforts, but I think it’s a much easier battle, because it’s only against the food they eat, rather than the lifestyle and habits which theyve adopted.

I hope that because of what I’m trying to do, that when my own grandchildren start their ‘healthy eating kick’, new years resolution circa 2052, they are those type of people.

Ever eaten an entire packet of biscuits in one sitting?

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!