Healthy in the Eyes of a 4 Year Old

13254486_10207717798120327_556279288004960556_nIn January of this year, I began the journey of having Grace go gluten free with me. Man, it has been a process, with a steep learning curve. I used to say that I was so glad to of been healthy when Grace and Jack were born. They didn’t know any other way of eating, and that made it easier to feed them healthy. But I think I had it all wrong. Ty and I used to eat very unhealthy, and he didn’t notice as we started eating healthier. When I first got on the healthy wagon, I made tuna helper with double tuna. I baked fish sticks and told Ty they were chicken nuggets. It was moving us closer to healthy, while still being highly processed. He actually didn’t notice that we really ate different until a few years later. This journey with the little two has been much different, and yet very amusing.

Grace and Jack tell people that they take probiotics, for a while they even called it “poop candy”. I was able to better explain to them that we are making our gut healthy, and not necessarily making ourselves poop. Where did they even come up with that? I am sure most 4 year olds do not go around talking about their gut health, but Grace totally does.

When Ty and I started eating healthier, he didn’t seem to notice that our habits were any different from other people’s. When Ty was 10, Mike and I began a strict paleo diet. I didn’t make all of his meals paleo, but Ty ate our dinner with us, so that was always paleo. He was still visiting his dad regularly, and so I knew he would get plenty of non-paleo foods there. It didn’t seem worth the struggle to make him change his breakfast and lunch when he was going to have so many meals off plan on the weekends. In 8th grade, Ty decided he no longer liked that his lunches were so different from everyone else’s. It wasn’t paleo, but I was making his granola bars, and buying organic foods. He declared that he wanted to buy a hot lunch at school. I am hopeful that by the time Grace gets to middle school that she is more comfortable with her alternative way of eating.

As of late, Grace has been telling people that she doesn’t eat this or that, because it isn’t healthy. We have since had several conversations about how some food is healthy yet still not healthy for Mommy and Grace’s belly. We have also began talking about how we can eat food that isn’t healthy once in a while. She was very excited to hear that we will still eat ice cream sometimes. There have been a few occasions where she has consumed gluten, and we suffer the consequences the next couple of days. Her behavior is just so off, and bad.

I need to get better about having food on hand for her in certain group situations, though. Just last week, we had preschool graduation. I knew that there would be a reception afterwards. I had every intention of bringing a small snack that she could have. I totally forgot as we walked out the door. At the reception, they had cookies and cake. Grace sat, looking like a sad puppy, until I told her we would go to a local store that carries gluten free cookies and cupcakes. Then, she happily played with friends and drank her juice.

I am contemplating becoming the room mom at school next year, just so I can make sure she always has a gluten free option for class parties and birthday celebrations. If I cannot get it all together, how can I expect a kindergartener to remember what she can and cannot eat? Now that I have put a stop to her insulting other people’s non-healthy eating habits, I just need to remind her that it is ok to ask if something is gluten free before she eats it.