One of the whiteboards at my little love’s day school is filled with the dietary exceptions of most of her classmates. Vegetarian, Vegan, Vegetarian-No Soy, No Dairy, Vegan-No Soy, the list is creatively endless. Almost every child is dietetically categorized in one way or the other .
Seeing this list always reminds me of my childhood. I was one of the few in the lunchroom of my middle school with the whole grain, natural peanut butter, sugarless jelly sandwiches, who had no idea what a carbonated beverage was. I still remember the most popular girl in my ballet class, the one without braces who had already filled out her leotard, casually asking me if it was true that I wasn’t allowed to watch T.V. or eat candy. Naturally, I lied and told her that of course I was.
I love that my parents instilled lifelong healthy habits at such an early age. Even though there were embarrassing, incredibly self-concious moments, now I wouldn’t trade that gift for all of the sugar in the world. While looking back, those moments are quite funny, but I am relieved that my daughter’s generation is growing up during a food evolution so to speak.
The way we think about food is changing, along with the labels in grocery stores and restaurants. Even this list of my daughter’s tiny, innocent peers, which brings a smile to my face and tickles my heart, is a microscopic example of the foodie world she will grow up in. How different will her lunchroom be from mine? Maybe the almond milk, hormone free, local, no preservative lunches will be the “in” food to have, and the kids with the white bread and cokes will be the self-concious ones.
Another gift that my parents instilled was an understanding of balance and moderation. There were cookies and ice cream in my life, just as there are in my daughters. Hamburgers and fries were not foreign objects, and my sweet girl loves Chick-Fil-A. I never want her to feel restricted in what she eats, and hope that she will only have positive associations with food.
In that vein, today was a day for indulging cravings. When I found this recipe for buttery, cheesy strata I couldn’t resist. There were no healthy substitutions tonight, instead we embraced the ingredients wholeheartedly. The only changes made were almond milk instead of cream, and we used Central Market Cheddar simply because they didn’t have any Gruyere in stock. Yummy and comforting, it was a fun way to end the weekend, and my little sous chef had a great time sampling the ingredients as we cooked, in between rounds of singing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes that is.