There’s a great piece over on our family channel right now by Patti Ghezzi titled Green mom’s good intentions zapped by toys. She writes about the way she knew she would handle the toys in her home for her child and the way it actually turned out. I smiled all the way through the piece. Been there. Still doing that. We can make the most perfect of plans for our children, but the problem is they turn out to have minds of their own.

It’s been over two years since I began changing up the way my family eats. I can get complacent at times and think I’ve finally got them on my side. Then something like the following happens that lets me know we are not all of the same mind.

My 10-year-old came home from school the other day and told me that their Scholastic News magazine that day was all about Michelle Obama and her garden. My ears definitely perked up. He told me that they read about the White House garden and eating more vegetables and taxing soda. He also proudly told me that there was a quiz on the back of the magazine about the garden and he got a 100 percent on the quiz.

Then he asked, “Can we have cheeseburgers for dinner tonight? There was a picture of a cheeseburger in it that looked so good.”

“Did the magazine tell you how to make a healthier cheeseburger?” I asked.

“No, it had a picture of a McDonald’s cheeseburger on the back, and it looked so delicious. I miss McDonald’s, Mom. Can’t we get it just once?”

“No. And bring home that magazine for me, will you?”



He brought me the magazine the next day. On the back cover, there is a chart skill exercise called Now and Then. The chart showed how much the average portion of some foods grew from 1989 until 2009. In 1989, the average serving size of French fries was 2.4 ounces. Today, it’s 6.9 ounces. The average cheeseburger was 4.5 ounces. Today, it’s 8 ounces.

All of this fabulous information being fed to my son and what he took away most from it was that the fast-food cheeseburger (which by the way, wasn’t specifically a McDonald’s cheeseburger) looked delicious.


As I was reading Patti’s piece this morning about how she bought her daughter a $50 organic doll that never gets played with, I had to laugh. I buy my children all sorts of healthy food. Somehow, they still want the McDonald’s. It’s frustrating, but it's the way it is.

I need to remember that my children have minds of their own. Even though I was dismayed that the first thing my son took away from the lesson that day was how good a fast-food cheeseburger looked, I know he took other things away. The information in that magazine and the ideas that I teach him are getting in his head. What he chooses to do with those ideas and information is totally up to him. I have no control over that.

I do, however, have control over dinner. He didn’t get a fast-food cheeseburger. I hope that when he does have control over his own food choices, that I’ll have given him enough good food and enough good information for him to make good choices — most of the time.

For more on my struggles to get my children to come over to my side:

• What are those Doritos doing in my mini van?

• Everything is fair game for breakfast 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.