Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What do you feed your kids and why?

I think that, as a crunchy mama, I have a lot of reasons for feeding my kids the foods I feed them. And I read all the time in other blogs writers mocking people who choose to feed their kids organic food, no candy, etc. I would say I'm probably not the strictest of parents when it comes to my child's diet, but I do have some standards. But before I get to those standards, I'd like to share a story of something that happened to me today. And in your reply, I'd like you to post your standards for feeding your kids (including your kids' ages if that is relevant).

I went to my LLL meeting this morning. There are lots of moms and kids at this meeting, maybe 20-25 of each. I always bring snacks and a drink for E (so she won't steal the snacks and drinks of others) and I always tell the women on either side of me that their children are welcome to partake of the snacks I have. Today, E had a granola bar and some organic apple slices. The woman next to me has a daughter about E's age (2.5) and the girl asked for one of my apple slices. Her mother said she couldn't have any, so she asked her mother for apples. Her mother gave her a stick of gum and Pez candy. Normally I'm not surprised when parents say no to raw apples for their children because of the choking risk. But to substitute gum? I just don't get it. I guess that's her set of standards, and it conflicts with mine. I try not to judge in these circumstances, but sometimes I just don't understand how people make the parental feeding decisions. So I've decided to explain mine. Here they are:

1. I aim to give E meat and egg products that are organic 95% of the time. It should at least be cage-free, grain-fed and hormone and antibiotic-free. Occasionally we do eat out and I will allow her to eat meat then, even if it's fast food. I just try to do it rarely enough that it's less likely to cause harm.
2. I aim to give E the healthiest dairy products possible. She drinks goat's milk, which I cannot obtain organically here but I do buy it direct from a local goat farm that fulfills my basic criteria listed in #1.
3. Produce may or may not be organic. It depends on the price of the organic produce, and the type of produce itself. Apples and celery are foods that usually have high amounts of pesticides, so I buy those organic exclusively. But I am flexible on many others.
4. For grains, I try to buy organic wherever possible but it's really cost-prohibitive. E doesn't eat a huge quantity of grain products so this does not worry me too much.
5. Fast food or restaurant food I try to limit to once a week.
6. She is allowed to have chips, but not every day. I try to limit it to twice a week.
7. Candy is limited to one piece per day, after lunch if she asks for it. She likes chocolate. I do not allow sticky or chewy candy (or gum) on account of the choking hazard.
8. She is allowed one frozen treat per day, after dinner. That's usually a popsicle, but might also be a bit of Daddy's ice cream.
9. She may drink as much juice as she likes. That might be 4 oz or 10 oz in one day, but she doesn't eat a lot of sugary things each day and we brush her teeth frequently so unless it's giving her intestinal upset (which it doesn't) I think it's fine.

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