Battle lines have been drawn across the dinner plates, fruit bowl and the fridge

Food is all about balance, but even I can’t pretend that three bars of chocolate a day is a good balance

We’re well into January and the new year’s resolutions are still going well. I mean I haven’t stuck to many of them, but I’m still making more to replace the ones I’ve dropped left, right and centre. You see I’ve decided to take the Marie Kondo approach to them – if they don’t bring me joy they must go.

Unfortunately chocolate still brings me way more joy than it should to any grown up, making one of the resolutions I’m trying to cling to – eating better – a little bit harder. I suppose being a parent and all I should set some sort of example for my offspring – plus it’s harder to take the moral high ground when your eldest tut tuts at you as she spots you opening your third bar of the day.

Just to be clear, this is not a lose weight diet thing –- I’ve never actually been on a diet in my life. And these are not the sort of discussions we have at home. I don’t want my kids focused on body shape, weight or size, though I’m not naïve enough to think that I alone can influence that. Still I would like to influence what I can – and that is a diet of the healthier sense. I don’t want food to become a huge focus point either. It’s all about balance, but even I can’t pretend that three Snickers a day is a good balance. Though in my defence, your honour, that’s a lot of nuts.

So the battle lines are being drawn across the dinner plates and the fruit bowl and the fridge and the press.


Which means I’m going to have to change the habit of the last er . . . many years. “Apple instead of a purple snack,” I remind myself several times a day as I head out to the kitchen for something to eat, less because I’m hungry and more because I’m usually on some deadline or other and procrastination naturally takes hold. It’s not even as if I don’t like apples, I just like purple snacks more – but so unfortunately does the curly haired dude.


And so more thought has gone into my incessant breaks than ever before – Easi-singles on Ryvita, that’s a step up, yes? Add some lettuce and it’s practically healthy and instagrammable. But better than that, it’s quick, the most important part. Still not sure any of it counts towards my five – or is it seven – a day, mind.

Anyhow, there’s no chance of inspiring my children to follow suit with such delicacies on offer so they need to visibly witness me choosing fruit and vegetables over chocolate. Unfortunately my children are expert negotiators. One even haggles over the number of individual corn kernels he feels he should have on his dinner plate – we’re talking single figures here – so it was no surprise to see them attempt to bargain with me when it came to the suggestion of having fruit as a snack rather than biscuits.

“How many bites do we need to have?” asked one.

“Can I have a treat after?” questioned another with his eye firmly on the prize.

“We’re just going to eat fruit like a normal family,” I quipped, wondering how, when all the children had been weaned the same, some are happy to eat literally anything and for others every meal and snack time is a battle. Could it be that these resisters had taken after their mother?

The daily wrestles with the biscuit press are not bringing me joy but for the greater good I’ll stick with this one. Even if it’s just to prove that I can – and to be the monkey leading by example. My mam and dad came for dinner earlier this month. I like to shock them once a year and prove that I can actually cook, the basics at least. My dad, ever the sceptic, has always conveniently “just eaten” when he visits my house. I try not to take it personally and I’ve long since accepted my domestic goddess limitations.

Childhood secrets

As we sat around the table my mother decided to divulge some of my childhood secrets to her grandchildren, making taking the recent moral high ground a little harder.

“You mother was a maniac for chocolate when she was younger,” she told them. “Jennifer would have eaten two Marathons [remember when Snickers were called that] a day if she could,” she continued. Things were serious. We were in full name territory.

As the sniggers from the kids continued around the table, determination set in. A new diet is dawning for me and for them. This resolution is going nowhere.

And anyway wine counts as one of my five, or is it seven, a day, surely?