I was watching my one-year-old
eat devour his dinner last night when I noticed: He was going straight for the noodles and force-ably pushing any vegetable of color aside. He ravenously ate, shoving fist after fist of food in his mouth, only deigning to eat the veggies after all else was clear from sight. Trust me, he checked. He even scooped out leftover pasta from the bowl of his bib before succumbing to the green beans.
Graham, the eldest, is the tenderest of eaters. He delicately puts each bite in his mouth, almost always picking his veggies and fruits first before going to the carb-heavy or fat-laden foods. We have to coerce him to take every bite, and he often leaves the dinner table without any interest in dessert or a snack.
Then I look at myself. Food has been a life-long battle: How much to eat, what to eat, when to eat. I naturally want to throw bags of chips in the grocery cart and instead pick up a bunch of (Chiquita!) bananas. I forgo the drive through window and their seductive french fries in lieu of a baked sweet potato piled high with veggies.
Gradually, in the most recent of years, I actually crave the healthy more than the heavy. But, it’s taken years and it has no-doubt been a battle. (Don’t get me wrong. I love a good french fry as much as the next guy.) I’ve heard tales from my mother about how excited I was at the first taste of SPAM. Yes, she fed me SPAM. Let’s not judge, it was the 70’s. SPAM was salty, fatty goodness. I loved it. I’ve loved all things salty and fatty since.
Is this an inclination you are born with? A natural tendency for some to intensely crave the unhealthy and overeat the bad stuff, and for some to not need to over-eat? To know when they are done and get up and walk away? I don’t wish that my youngest child battle with food when he’s older. I don’t wish it on anyone.
Obviously, healthy eating habits can be learned. But, are some of us just per-determined to over-eat and pick unhealthy choices?
What do you think?
P.S. That’s a photo of Will eating his first birthday cake. I realize that giving a one-year-old a whole cake isn’t exactly setting him up for success with healthy eating. It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Like, you know, for when you turn one. 🙂