If my kids knew all the garbage I ate when I was their age they would probably be a little upset. In my parent’s house growing up the snack drawer was in the livingroom for some reason and boasted some of the finest junk food in the neighborhood. I became very popular afterschool with all the kids my age due to the presence of Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and tremendously sized (for the 1980’s) variety packs of Ruffles potato chips, Doritos, Fritos and Cheetos. There were Double Stuff Oreos or Chips Ahoy cookies for milk dipping if we so desired. Occasionally we’d even get the Hostess chocolate cupcakes or boxed donuts, powder sugar or Entemann’s chocolate crumb donuts. Sometimes we got those crazy marshmallow cookies with graham cracker on the bottom and covered in chocolate. Eating unhealthy food was not limited to snacking. Mornings were a buffet of breakfast cereals, we must have had every sugar cereal there was on the market, my mom and dad used to ask us what kind of cereal we wanted when they went to the grocery store – I remember Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo-Berry cerals were popular in the household, as were Cookie Crisp, Super Sugar Crisp and Froot Loops. Fruity Pebbles was always one of my favorites. I remember the happy day when Cinnamon Toast Crunch first hit the supermarket shelves. We also ate a lot of hot dogs for dinner and boil in the bag macaroni. Food from a can was the norm. My mom and dad both worked full time so they didn’t have time to do any elaborate cooking. Processed food was the only food I knew outside of iceberg lettuce and chopped carrots in salads. If my kids only knew.
If my kids knew all the crap I ate when I was young my credibility would most certainly take a hit. Nowadays I am the food enforcer. I’m in charge of the food supply to the kids and my ways are pretty draconian compared to how I grew up. Now that I’m a parent I buy the food, or in the case of most everything I ate as a child, I don’t buy the food. We eat a lot of organic food and we try to avoid gluten for the most part. I stand over my children as they select what snack they want afterschool. Before they even ask for any organic vegetable chips they know they better eat some apples or celery sticks. The notion that they would freely choose their own snack is beyond them. Being a stay at home dad allows me to disperse food more wisely than a seven year old kid would to themselves. I also have time to cook and avoid processed foods. Does that make me a hypocrite? No, I think it makes me a good parent, but every once in a while I sneak in a box of Fruity Pebbles to the house when my wife is out of town. The kids and I sit around the table together munching happily and enjoying our sugar rush while I get them to swear they won’t tell mommy until we talk about it so much that I know that this will be the first thing they tell her when she walks in the door, “Daddy gave us Fruity Pebbles!”