"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Mom’s No-Fat-Kid Manifesto

by Julie Tilsner on July 23, 2009

in Adventures in Parenting, Chew on This

Strawberries Clever of me to put off eating this morning. No telling what would have become of breakfast had I seen this on a full stomach: This is Why You’re Fat dot com. [editor’s note: this blog disappeared for some reason after I wrote this…but I found this replacement…so you can get the idea…)

Sick yet? Or maybe you find the thought of a deep-fried cheeseburger on a stick appetizing.

This got me to thinking about my thinking about food and how Americans eat and about why so many of us are fat.

I’m not fat, but maybe you are.

An annoying aside: I have never been fat. It’s just a genetic blessing. Instead of high cheekbones or willowy stature or perfect skin, or some other possibly marketable physical attribute, I happen to be of very slight build. I also do as little as possible to stay in this condition (although middle age hasn’t helped any). I realize this makes me the poster-child for osteoporosis in about 40 years, but until then, I’m gonna keep eating as much as I want to.

And maybe that’s the reason I’m not chubby: I don’t eat that much. Your average appetizer at the Cheesecake factory will feed me for two days. The Drama Tween recently observed that all I ever eat “are olives, little pieces of cheese and crunchy bread,” washed down with wine. Guilty as charged: I like to graze.

My kids graze as well, mostly because if they didn’t supplement my dreadful attempts at feeding them with free-range foraging they’d be goners for sure. The girl, just entering puberty, hasn’t an ounce of extra meat on her. The boy, however, is inexplicably plumping up. Some tell me this is just his body’s way of gearing up for one of those 5-inches-of-growth-in-two months-phases, and I’m hoping this is the case.

Because I can’t imagine having fat kids. And it got me thinking of how I’m going to accomplish this without being one of those food freak moms who won’t let their kids drink whole milk or ever taste a Hostess product. Here’s my thinking:

Mom’s no-fat-kid manifesto:

  • Moderation in everything
  • As little as possible out of a box. Mostly whole foods.
  • No soda or chips in house – only for special occasions (birthday party, BBQ, or eating out)
  • Fruit, fruit, fruit.  In the summer months they can graze freely of all the fruits in the household
  • Rice cakes are your friend
  • Cheerios are as crap cereal as I’ll allow. Well OK. Maybe Life.
  • Brown sugar on oatmeal is OK as long as there is a whole banana in there too.
  • Sweets are fine, after your meal.
  • Exploit the veggie they love the most.
  • Don’t tell them what tofu is made of
  • Sugar on strawberries? What the hell is wrong with you?
  • Hook them on hummus early.
  • Benevolent tolerance of occasional fast food, just so they don’t get obsessed with the forbidden.
  • Let them see you cook, shop at the farmer’s market, and enjoy food. They’ll grow up loving the good stuff.

Did I forget anything?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

linda July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am

Yes you did forget something: the kid who hates both fruits and vegetables. I didn’t believe this type really existed until #3 Fiona arrived on the scene. Try feeding that one within the confines of all your damme rules, woman!


Bad Home Cook July 24, 2009 at 11:03 am

There’s gotta be *something* she’ll eat…strawberries? Raspberries? Corn on the cob? Snap peas from her own mother’s bountiful garden?
No? Then try not feeding her anything for a day. You’ll find her very grateful for the fruits and veggies then…
Or maybe you’ve already tried that…


Carisoprodol July 29, 2009 at 11:18 pm

wow..that’s a great list. I am nit chubby too but I have a big stomach fat and I don’t know how to avoid this fats on my stomach.. 🙁


Nomie August 9, 2009 at 11:53 am

My parents more or less followed this list with us kids. My brother is skinny, like my mom and her side of the family. I am fat, like my dad and his whole side of the family. Genetics are tricky that way.


Disgusted January 4, 2015 at 12:13 am

No doubt having an anorexic kid would be preferable to having a fat one. Nice start you have here.


Julie January 6, 2015 at 6:41 am

You must be fat to write such an asinine comment.


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