LINE OF THOUGHT 1:
It’s one of those jobs you hate, but you have to do at least once a year. Sometimes more in my house.
The annual cleaning-out-of-the-food-cupboard.
If you’re a responsible shopper – and I’m not – you know exactly what is in your cupboard at any given point in time. You have manageable levels of tinned and packet foods, and never need to throw anything out because it’s out of date.
Let me reiterate, I am not one of those people.
In a snatched moment when the kids were all away, occupied or asleep, I battled my demons.
I unpacked and sorted. I groaned as I saw three jars of hoisin sauce, four tins of tomato soup, eight tins of creamed corn and fourteen packets, of varying sizes, of instant rice.
What? I get a little stupid when things go on sale.
And my kids really like rice. And they want it NOW. It’s a great invention.
I took the opportunity to dispose of a number of barely touched party lolly bags, snatched with such glee after a birthday, and forgotten just as quickly.
I tossed out the tub of fairy floss. My husband wanted to keep it, but I said that unless he was prepared to feed it to the kids before HE was about to spend the day with them, then it needed to go.
I threw out an obscene amount of food, and I am feeling very ashamed of myself.
LINE OF THOUGHT 2:
Food wastage is something we battle daily as parents.
We have all cooked the meal, full of healthy things only to have the kids say ‘yuck’ and demand a vegemite sandwich.
We have all swept up piles of rice and cereal from the floor, and had to tip it into the bin because it has been contaminated with pet hair – or, at our place - foot long strands of the Bombshell’s hair.
We have all found the mummifed half-eaten sandwich under the couch; the apple with a single bite out of it in the bottom of the school bag; the lovingly made fruit platter that the kids left out in the sun because they were too busy playing.
One of the biggest food battles we have is that fine line between teaching our children not to waste food but also teaching them to not eat beyond their capacity.
The three year old Mop has a canny ability to eat exactly 80% of what is on her plate. She will eat happily and then, with only a mouthful of two left in front of her, she will stop. It’s bloody annoying, and I used to push her to finish her meal, to ‘not waste food.’
But what is worse? Wasting a few mouthfuls of food, or teaching her that she must always finish what is in front of her.
I always finish what is in front of me.
And then I finish what is on my kids’ plates. And then I often get another helping.
I am more than a few kilos overweight.
Actually I’m a lot overweight.
So I am determined to not encourage my children to eat more than they need to. I eat because I want to, not because I need to and it had led to a lifetime of food issues.
I want my children to have a happy, healthy and uncomplicated relationship with food.
So I have started talking to the Mop about what her ‘tummy’ wants, as opposed to what ‘she’ wants. She is old enough to distinguish between wanting something because it’s yummy and her ‘mouth’ wants it, and wanting something because she is hungry and her ‘tummy’ wants it.
Clearly I need to start practicing what I am preaching. It’s something I fail at regularly.
Yesterday I had lunch out with my husband and the Bombshell. I tried my hardest not to finish everything on the plates, and when we left there was half a plate of fried rice remaining. I felt proud that I had not overeaten unnecessarily.
And then I ruined it all by eating an enormous ice-cream cone that I neither wanted nor needed.
Baby steps, Shannon.