The other day some friends and I took the kids on a Trolley ride and we stopped at our favorite Pizza place in downtown West Palm Beach. While we were there I ordered a diet soda. I rarely drink diet soda but for some reason I was inclined to partake. We don't let our kids drink soda because we tell them that it is not good for them. It is full of chemicals, colorings and sugar. Absolutely nothing that could benefit a child.
Jackson, our 5 year old, was appalled. He immediately announced to everyone at our table, and loud enough so other tables could here "Mom.. how could you drink a soda? And you are a dietitian!"
What do you say to that? I did not have a really good explanation. How could I say "Well Jackson mommy drinks diet Dr. Pepper on occasion because it reminds me of being home in Texas and I like the caffeine because I was up last night with your sister". Likely not a good explanation for a 5 year old.
On one hand I was proud that he actually listened to me when I talked about food and healthy habits but on the other hand I felt like I was the worst example in the world.
I guess the lesson is that we as parents can't be perfect all the time. Will I be more cautious in the future when I order my carbonated beverage? Likely yes. Is it OK for our kids to see us eat and drink poorly? On occasion I would say yes, but for the long term challenges of feeding kids, the important thing to remember is that they are watching and remembering everything that we eat and drink.
As a dietitian side note...if you eliminate soda from your diet you will likely lose 1 pound a week (500 calories a day for 7 days equals 3500 calories which is what it takes to lose 1 pound a week), just by eliminating sugar laden sodas. Diet sodas are not much better. Studies are linking them to actually increasing the appetite.