It’s true, we eat healthy. But I never really understood how other people see us until I had a house full of bubbly girls over for our teen’s 13th birthday party. As they gathered around the center island munching chips and salsa and veggies and dip, I heard the commentary about how we’d been designated as “The Healthy House.” It wasn’t particularly snarky, just a statement of fact with a slight bit of teasing for good measure. But there were a lot of raised eyebrows when I pulled out the Cheetos and cookies. It was a birthday party…
Honestly, I have never really considered how other people see our eating habits. We have been on a mission for the past decade to improve our eating. We try to be more conscious about what we consume. It started with eliminating fast food chains. I will make an exception for Panera, but recently I’ve been pulling back on that because of the high calorie meals and sweet temptations. We do eat a decent local pizza about once per week. What teen (or adult) could live without pizza every now and then?
I try not to buy too many snack foods either. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Fritos, Cheezits, Cheetos, Mac’N’Cheese, Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, etc. But if I buy anything of this nature, every single person in the house will rummage past all the fresh fruit and vegetables and eat that first (including me!).
What do we eat instead? Grilled meats, steamed veggies, fresh fruits, whole grain breads and bars, low sugar cereal, nuts, full fat milk and yogurt, etc. Plenty of butter and unprocessed salt. And dark chocolate. I always sprinkle in a little junk here and there so we don’t feel too deprived. You can read more of our food rules here.
How Other People See Us
It never occurred to me that my teen would be identified as a healthy eater. What she packs for lunch is normal to us, but apparently her classmates find it odd. She brings PBJ’s on whole wheat bread with water, sliced cucumbers or carrots, and no sugar applesauce. Or, she’ll make herself a salad.
When I talked to her about it, she laughed. She listed off the things her friends bring to school: several packages of Tastykakes, sandwiches on white bread, and sugary fruit drinks to name a few. And yes, I was shocked. Horrified actually! How can these girls study and concentrate if they don’t have real food to feed their brains?
But I am very aware of making sure my daughter is not singled out for our crazy habits. It’s hard enough being at a new school with new friends in a new area without being labeled as different, or worse, weird. I remember what that was like as my parents had plenty of different ideas about life.
So, I offered to buy her some junk food.
Was she feeling deprived?
Does it bother her that we eat so healthily?
To my surprise, it didn’t bother her at all. She likes the way we eat and doesn’t mind being different. After all, to a teen girl, being “The Healthy House” isn’t the worst label we could have. For now, that is.