You make sure your kids get a variety of healthy foods at home. But what happens when the kids go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house?!
Disclaimer: Both the Caputo and Serbinski Grandparents have plenty of healthy foods in their house. They offer them to our kids with the not-so-healthy options too! Oh and I wrote this post while eating a mini Dove chocolate bar while staying the night at my parent’s house with the boys. Moderation people… moderation!
Let me preface this post by saying I know the boys’ Grandparents read this blog. And I by no means want this to come off as a complaint or public rant on the food they feed my kids. But I think Grandparents and junk food is a topic many Mom’s talk about among their circle of friends or at playgroups. And I’d be lying if I didn’t share that I’ve told my girlfriends, “Joey said he wasn’t hungry but then ate a bowl of gummy worms as soon as we walked into Nana and Grandpa’s house.” But guess what? Mom grabbed one of those gummy worms too! I guess there is some truth to the saying, “what happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s!”
I get that everything is supposed to be fun and sweet and cheerful when Grandparents are around. And for many grandparents, that involves food. From sprinkles to Goldfish to Spaghetti-O’s, my boys get their fair share of special food when they are with their Grandparents. I used to send the boys to my parent’s house with cut fruit and veggie sticks with Greek yogurt and hummus dips. But you know what? Half the time the food came home with me because Nana had things on hand to feed them. And when we’ve visited Ted’s parents in Virginia I’ve sent grocery lists of healthy foods— everything my in-laws purchased for us. But the boys still gravitated towards some of the packaged cookie and crackers items in their house.
So instead of barking my food rules and lecturing both sets of Grandparents on ingredient lists and added sugars, I go with the flow. And have learned to appreciate the time the boys are getting with people who love them [and clearly love Ted and I because they are busy working their tails off with those toddlers]. We’ve had a few food moments where after dinner I calmly let my Mom know, “I’m trying NOT to entice Joey with a few more bites of meat or vegetables with the promise of getting dessert.” And my Mom nods, says ok, and we move on. Thankfully she respects our wishes— and even agrees with me when I bring out my textbook way of thinking.
A wise friend [who also happens to be a registered dietitian] recently shared with me that she looks at the healthfulness of her family’s diet week by week. SO much happens each week that can affect our appetites, the time we have to eat, and the time we have to prepare and enjoy healthy foods. That also takes into account the people who are serving the food. So unless your kids are spending half the year with Grandma and Grandpa and only getting canned Spaghetti-O’s or sprinkles with watermelon [yes, Nana has done that], I’d try and just enjoy the fact that someone loves your kids as much as you do. And is remembering to feed them!
My hope is that your wishes for food go over well with the caregivers and Grandparents in your child’s life. And if not, just remember it’s only an hour, or day, or heck, a week of meals. Your kids will learn when they are home with Mom and Dad it’s back to your food rules!
I let my Mom read this before posting and here are her comments:
- “Joey never gets a bowl of gummy worms, he gets two at a time!”
- “I gave the boys bubbles and a toy car in their Easter basket… not just candy!”
- “He had sprinkles on his watermelon when he was sick and not eating a thing!”
Mom to Mom Nutrition. Fair and balanced!