I must confess that I am guilty of offering my son pizza for dinner once a week. Not that my son loves pizza, in fact he would willingly gobble dry bread than enjoy a pepperoni slice. But this year, I made a decision to change that. Pizza is the necessary evil in my life that helps me maintain a level of sanity and normalcy, which on occasions I have to struggle with.
Are you surprised that I chose to write a blog on eating junk food? Some of you might already be moving on to more appropriate topics like nutritious food and how to stay healthy. Those of you who chose to linger on I would like to humour you with the reasons I behind this shocking resolution of mine.
We’re going to a birthday party! Along with the fact that my son abhors social situations, I have to worry not only about dressing him but also feeding him a full meal before we leave home. Why? Because any kids party in our neighbourhood means a spread of pizza and fries. He doesn’t indulge and I am left filling his plate with multiple helpings of fries and chips and whatever else is the entre. So by the time the birthday cake is cut, I’m finding innovative excuses to get out of there before he has a meltdown triggered by hunger.
Every school has this custom of ordering in pizza for the class every month. Every kid looks forward to it. Mine didn’t. In fact he hasn’t been to school since he started eating pizza; it has been more of a COVID home isolation exercise. Up until spring 2020, I would invariably pack his lunch and add a note to the teacher stating that do offer him a slice but if he doesn’t eat, please give him his consolatory lunch box.
Who doesn’t love long drives during summer, especially in company of good friends? Well when you’re travelling in a group and food stops are far and few between, you tend to steer towards pizza joints for the mass appeal of pizza and everyone gets to choose their favourite toppings. During these banter filled and messy stopovers, I would be reaching for whatever packaged snacks I am carrying for my son. Maybe add a few fries, but its not the same as sharing a meal.
We are living in Toronto. And if you don’t know how to cook and cannot afford to eat out at a restaurant every day, then your options are kind of limited. It would either be a Big Mac meal, a pizza and pop combo or a hot dog. My son managed to teach himself how to enjoy Mac D burgers. But as our regular food habits do not include pizza, we had to take it upon us to train him to tackle a slice of pizza and enjoy it too. Hot dog is next on our cards. His school also has a Hot Dog barbeque event now and then.
Say what you will about the harmful effects of junk food on child development, lack of nutritional value and the potential risks of obesity; I am simply relieved that I can now go to a party with my shy kid and spend more time helping him socialise rather than worry about food, not having to pack those back-up lunches, breaking bread with my friends where my son is with all of us eating and probably has a few stains on his new shirt just like all the other kids in our group. And tomorrow, when he leaves home for studies or job or pursuing his dreams, he will know its okay to order in and skip the dishes once a while.
I am looking forward to knowing what you feel about this conscious goal of mine? Are you appalled by it? Do you let your child enjoy junk food once a week or when you visit the mall?