229 Days ’til 40: Finicky Eaters

07 Jul

I was a really picky eater as a child. Because I was obsessed by Popeye, my mum and aunts would put my food in a can to represent spinach and we’d hum the Popeye tune and then I’d happily eat it. ~ Paul O’Grady

Eating healthy foods can be a challenge in my home.  While I will readily admit that we are much better than many families I see, we are far from perfect.  My partner is a vegetarian who hates vegetables and fruits (but loves bread and cheese) and my youngest has an unbelievable sweet tooth.  My oldest and I can take or leave sweet things and seem to have much more self control in the area of healthy eating.

There are a few things that come to mind for me when I think about families and healthy eating – some are more relevant to the adults than the children.

  1. People feel they “deserve” to have junk food, as though it is their personal right to eat a bunch of garbage, and technically it is.  In the end, the only person they are hurting is themselves, yet this is all too common.  This attitude is a false attitude and it has to be changed.  Only when we truly understand that to eat healthy is a gift and to eat unhealthy garbage is what is “punishment” to us will we be able to really look at food as it is meant to be.  Food is fuel for our bodies, period.
  2. Taste buds.  I find that when my girls eat more junk food they want more junk food – it deadens their senses.  I find that my youngest, who likes sweets, has taken to NOT liking healthy food the more sweets she eats.  When I limit her sweets, suddenly she likes eggs and fruit and other things again. Her taste buds have to be retrained – many of our taste buds have to be retrained.  I found that too!  When I stopped consuming sugar (about 7 months ago) I craved sugar all the time.  Now I find cherry tomatoes and red peppers to be sweet – my taste buds changed when I washed all of the garbage out of my system.
  3. Will power.  It takes at least 21 days to break a habit – I found it took longer with eating junk food and learning to crave healthy food – I think people need to commit to about 60 days before they can really expect the cravings to subside.  I used to crave chocolate during pms, now I crave cherries and carrots!

Today, 229 days ’til 40 I challenge myself to constantly evaluate the food I am giving my children – am I helping my family to make good decisions?  Am I modeling good behavior for my kids?  Am I ensuring that they are doing what I say AND what I do?  Are you?



Posted by on July 7, 2012 in attitude, Health


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27 responses to “229 Days ’til 40: Finicky Eaters

  1. livingforjackie

    July 7, 2012 at 02:32

    it is hard sometimes to always eat healthy….I myself have to fight the cravings a lot! I lot of the sugar cravings with me is because I’m a diabetic also…..and any diabetic I have known has terrible sugar cravings….I believe it’s the nature of the beast…now I’m going gluten free…and yes I crave bread!! I love bread!! But I do find the cravings have lessened in intensity the longer I go…..

    • 400daystil40

      July 7, 2012 at 21:23

      Gluten free really can make a difference – I have been gluten free since December and it has made such a huge difference.

      • livingforjackie

        July 7, 2012 at 21:30

        It’s only been a little less then a month for me…but I have felt better so it must be working….I’m going to keep at it! It helps when there are others like yourself to talk to….thanks!

        • 400daystil40

          July 7, 2012 at 22:04

          Yes, we all have to stick together! You can do it!

  2. sahbinahvioletflynn

    July 7, 2012 at 03:17

    Always eating healthy…modeling good behavior doesn’t necessarily translate to your offspring eating like you do (I’ve read how you taste food might be genetic and my son favors his dad’s way of eating over mine: meat, potatoes, chips with everything). I think people need to get over their sense of entitlement to eating poorly. We all pay for other people’s bad eating habits in one or other whether it’s through how our healthcare is delivered and paid for (nationalized health insurance) or through other services where costs for employees (their health benefits) are passed on to the consumer.

    • 400daystil40

      July 7, 2012 at 21:22

      Yes, you are so correct – how do they get over the sense of entitlement? I also know many who use their lineage as an excuse (I am doomed to eat junk food and be unhealthy because my parents were the same way).

  3. A Table in the Sun

    July 7, 2012 at 04:30

    One of the best ways I have found to appreciate the “good stuff” is to grow a garden of your own. I’m pretty sure that my Italian roots compel me to eat every last piece of produce so that nothing goes to waste. My second best strategy is completely outside my control….I’m gluten intolerant, which deletes a LOT of nutritionally poor foods. Good for you for cutting back on sugar!

    • 400daystil40

      July 7, 2012 at 21:21

      Ah, I actually have the same issues! I also am gluten intolerant and that does help me to avoid a lot of foods I should not eat anyhow. That said, I LOVE some of the gluten free breads and they can be very high calorie and high sugar (I won’t eat them if they have sugar).

  4. buckwheatsrisk

    July 7, 2012 at 05:55

    i have a terrible sugar addiction and i would love to break it. i fear the mood swings and panic that comes with not having it. i had no idea your tastes change once off of it. how did you handle coming off of it?

    • 400daystil40

      July 7, 2012 at 21:19

      It was very hard for the first 60 days. I would go for sweet fruit or vegetables when I had a craving, or try to distract myself in other ways. When I was incredibly desperate, I would eat a sugar free candy (you won’t eat too many of those or you will end up on the toilet!)

      • buckwheatsrisk

        July 7, 2012 at 22:50

        thank you for the tips! oh boy no i wouldn’t eat to many of those then!

  5. wife2dondi

    July 7, 2012 at 08:26

    Reblogged this on wife2dondi and commented:
    Hmmm, sounds like a plan! Now, what method should I use 2 get my husband 2 try this? 😉

    • 400daystil40

      July 7, 2012 at 21:14

      If you figure it out, will you let me know!

  6. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

    July 7, 2012 at 12:21

    Great post.

    Your experminents on your kids sound very interesting!

    I wish you and your family health and happiness.

  7. Spider42

    July 7, 2012 at 13:22

    You’re right about the taste-buds needing to be re-trained and the need to see the benefits of healthy living and eating because in the end it’s good for us – we are amazingly adaptable creatures and over a fairly short period we can usually adapt really well to most any environment and lifestyle. Provided we are willing to make the change, this being where most people fall short I think, will-power as you rightly noted.
    However I do feel that perhaps you are being overly critical and harsh in your hatred for junk food. Personally, I love junk food, always have. That said, I know that it can’t be a lifestyle (though there are some who I’ve seen who can argue the contrary to a fair extent and not obese folks only either! :D) there is an element of reward and joy to some of it. Chocolates, sweets, chips and others are not ALL bad and while not the healthiest thing on earth they are not the worst so long as we restrain ourselves and our consumption.
    To me, too much of anything is a bad thing. That includes things that are “good for you”. I’ve seen people obsessed with their health and exercise and all who today have more health problems than me. Not to cite this as a rule or statistic, just that we should find things we like to eat in the junk category and not make it a reward but simply a pleasure to be enjoyed once in a while – because lets face it, if you have a thing too often (even junk food and such) it loses its charm and becomes at best: habit.
    So I say eat healthy and be conscious of taking care of yourself, but remember that there are no guarantees in what happens in life when so try all things once and make sure to enjoy the things that brought you joy at least once in a while – when you really feel like you WANT it as opposed to just because you can. 😉

    • 400daystil40

      July 7, 2012 at 21:17

      I love it when I hit something in you because then I get great long comments! 🙂 I think it is about balance when people can be balanced – sometimes balance cannot be achieved, and in those cases I think junk food addicts need to be treated more like alcoholics……….. as it can cause obesity/ diabetes/ and all sort of other dangerous problems.

      • Spider42

        July 9, 2012 at 11:39

        Absolutely true! (and yes, when people strike chords, I tend to ramble/lecture… it’s a compulsion, can’t help it!)

        Basically I think it’s all about moderating yourself (food, drinks, booze, anything really) and the things that you enjoy but are not good for you, make that a special occasion thing you enjoy once in a while and REALLY enjoy it.
        Too much of anything loses it’s joy – the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.
        (It’s one of the VERY few things that stuck with me from economics class!)

  8. whoopscareless

    July 7, 2012 at 14:37

    I’ve never been a very picky eater, but I became even less so when I saw a friend eating plain meat and plain rice for dinner, and was told that was what she ate every single night because she didn’t like (and wouldn’t try) anything else.

    Course, now I’ve gone the other way and have terrible trouble deciding what to make for dinner every night because I have too much to choose from. 😀

    • 400daystil40

      July 7, 2012 at 21:15

      I must say that my girls used to be really good at trying everything…… they are in weird phases now that I hope will end soon.

      • leftoverrecipes

        July 8, 2012 at 10:06

        My kid went through a phase like that at age 4 about, but he stopped it (now five) and is back to tasting everything and eating most things. If they tried everything before, hold on, it will be back 🙂

  9. thelastsongiheard

    July 8, 2012 at 08:10

    Good for you 🙂 I’ve changed my eating habits and am trying to change my son’s… but you know what it’s like when they’re five… he’ll sometimes ask to have a bite of my sandwich and if he likes it, I try to remember so I can make him something like it next time 🙂

  10. leftoverrecipes

    July 8, 2012 at 10:04

    You are right about taste buds. Some years ago I had a medical problem and they told me to swear of caffeine for a few months, including coca cola. In a spirit of solidarity, my husband stopped drinking coca cola as well. As we didn’t like other sweetened drinks, we drank water and soda water for these months. When the doctors told me I could drink coca cola again, we both happily went and bought a bottle, and prepared to enjoy ourselves.
    It was absolutely disgusting. Sickeningly sweet with a bitter after taste. We both haven’t been able to drink cola since.
    Same thing happened to me after I stopped adding sugar to cornflakes. My husband thought it was a weird habit and told me to try without. After a while, you suddenly realize how sweet milk (especially whole milk) really is on its own.
    However, we do allow our kids sweets on Saturdays in the synagogue, and home baked desserts. Otherwise they fill up on sweets at friends houses and don’t have any self control. the current situation is that they eat one sweet in the synagogue, even if they are given 13 (true story, it happened!). they redistribute the rests or save it for next Saturday.

    • 400daystil40

      July 8, 2012 at 18:42

      Wow, what a great story – I also have not drunk coca cola in years and find the taste atrocious – cannot drink diet either. Great training with your kids at shul – I need to work om similar training with our girls…. moderation is the key. 🙂

  11. The World Is My Cuttlefish

    July 19, 2012 at 00:15

    Interestingly, I have been called a fussy eater when I choose to eat healthy foods and not unhealthy ones which I don’t like.

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 14:15

      That is so funny! Wow, keep choosing those healthy foods! (I will too!!!)


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