About This Blog

Rated P is a sketch comedy musical about parenthood celebrating the wonders & lunacy of raising kids from conception to college. This blog, written by Rated P's author & lyricist, Sandy Rustin, offers up a humorous and heartfelt look at the nitty gritty business of parenting.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crouching Mommy, Hidden Junk Food

I am not alone in my quest to nourish my children with healthy foods.  Families everywhere are on the warpath to keep junk out of our kids' sticky fingered grasps.  I bought Jessica Seinfeld's book (Deceptively Delicious) and snuck spinach into cakes and zucchini into pasta sauces.  I've blended extra fruits and veggies into "milk shakes."  I've even - gasp - lied and called healthy foods that are not pizza, pizza, just to see if my kids'll try it. 

And yet, while I serve my children apple slices with soy nut butter for snack, you'll find me hiding behind pantry doors competing with myself to see how many potato chips I can fit in my mouth before my kids ask me what I'm eating. 

I read Lisa Belkin's piece on parent nutrition this morning (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-belkin/parents-bad-nutrition_b_1468968.html?ref=parents). She got me thinking.   Surely, there must be a happy medium.  Maybe I'm the one who needs hidden veggies in my milkshakes and the kids deserve an introduction to Count Chocula? 

Now don't get me wrong.  I am no stranger to eating well.  I've read all of Michael Pollen's books and consequently switched to eating only local, organic, grass fed meats.  I had an upper endoscopy that confirmed lactose intolerance, so bye-bye dairy.  A nutritionist suggested I remove wheat from my diet - and as a result my tummy has never felt better.  All the talk about high-fructose corn syrup has had me drinking only water (ahem, and wine) for years now.    Our refrigerator is chock full of organic, pesticide free, all natural, foods so my boys can grow healthy, big and strong. 

And yet ... if I spy a bowl of Cheetos at some kid's birthday party ... you can bet my wheat free, dairy free, organic-only fingers will be dusted neon orange within 5 minutes.  I just can't help it.  That's the bi-product of growing up in the 80s. 

My mom did her best to keep "crap," as she dubbed it, out of our house.  But I found it elsewhere.  How could I not?  Sodium and sugar highs lurked around every corner.  After play practice, at friend's houses ... ooph, the school cafeteria was worst of all.  As I matured, though, I became more conscious of nutrition, an avid reader of complicated ingredient labels, and more apt to choose the side salad instead of fries. But I still find comfort in the face of Chester Cheetah and his friends, Tony the Tiger & The Keebler Elves. 

So, what will this mean for my boys?  How long can I crouch in the pantry debating whether the wheat content of an Oreo really counts as wheat - while they eat organic yogurt with granola?

My friend Kate has a saying (I think she got it from someone famous).  She says, "Everything in moderation.  Including moderation."  Now that's an attitude I can adopt.  I can Whole Foods my house ... but keep one Target shelf. 

The love of carcinogenic junk food is unrequited, I know.  It's disgusting and filled with chemicals and dyes ... but in moderation?  Every once in a while?   Is a handful of Doritos every once in a blue moon really gonna hurt us?  Perhaps the act of teaching moderation is more important anyway.  I don't want my boys to grow up to be pantry crouchers. 

So, tomorrow morning ... I will emerge from my hiding spot in the pantry.  And next to local, farm fresh fruit salad and slices of gluten free toast with soy buttery spread, we're having sugary, delicious, horrible for you, Apple Jacks for breakfast.  I'll pour the lactose free milk. 


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