As a clinical nutritionist, I've chosen to eat pretty healthy for years. I know what foods are good for me, but I won't tell you that I eat healthy because I like healthier food. I, like everyone else, wish that I could live on pizza, pasta and cookies, but my metabolism wouldn't allow that. Being barely five feet tall means I have to watch my weight more than others and besides, I intend to grow older without having major health problems. Besides, I hate looking four months pregnant from bloating every time I eat pasta.
In my book, eating healthy does not mean I am one of those people who eat only organic, clean and raw foods. I do not need to eat the way Gwyneth Paltrow eats. It works for her, and she looks amazing, but I like food a lot, so you will not find me buying kale or quinoa or doing some juice cleanse that'll make me gag. I'm not one of those people who shy away from red meat either, although I try to only eat it once or twice a week. My main diet consists of chicken and turkey, a lot of vegetables, and I love dark chocolate. When I go out to dinner, I'll occasionally share a dessert with my husband, and I even eat a few potato chips when my salt craving has taken me hostage. I'm certainly not perfect, but I would definitely be considered a healthy eater overall.
But as a nutritionist, the one thing I'm always being questioned about are my kids. I have two teenage boys, and without a doubt, when I tell someone that yes, they eat hot dogs, chicken tenders and the occasional fast food meal, I get that judgmental look. I bet if you're a teacher and your kids don't get good grades you get that look, too. I don't think it should be this way, but the fact that I do what I do for a living makes people think they have the right to judge me. Sometimes, I feel a kind of shame and guilt that my kids don't always listen to me and I'm supposed to be influencing other people's eating habits. The truth is, I'm a parent first, and I do my best, just as any other parent does.
Does my husband buy them more junk than I do? Absolutely. But I will often see their favorite candy bar and buy it for them because I love the smile it puts on their face. I've always believed in moderation, so I'm perfectly fine to give my kids foods that I may not touch. They do eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, even if they're scarfing on hot dogs. In my house, they know they will always get some kind of fruit and some kind of vegetable on their plate, no matter what else they're eating. And my kids are genetically thin, so I've never had to deal with the obesity issue. Although, I'm always telling them that when they hit thirty all bets are out the window.
My goal for my boys is to model for them what healthy eating looks like and then to hope that someday, they remember what I taught them. If that doesn't happen, then hopefully they'll find a wonderful woman who'll impose her healthy eating habits on them. When that happens, my job will be done.