To help decide, I invited my 17-year-old daughter, Sophie, to share her thoughts on the effects of my health-related habits. I’ve also told my side of the story. The lines between my modeled behaviors and Sophie’s actions aren’t always straight and clear; the phenomenon plays out in subtle, unexpected ways. I’m happy to see that, rather than simply mimic my ways or adopt them wholesale, she has independently evaluated what suits her best. Here’s what we Huget women have to say:
Jennifer: Before I started reporting on health, I didn’t know all that much about what constitutes good nutrition. So I did a lot of things in Sophie’s early childhood that I regret.
This includes not having enough vegetables in our diet, adding way too much brown sugar to our oatmeal and melting cheese on more foods than I should have. I’m afraid Soph had it instilled in her from an early age that food should be really sweet or really cheesy.
Sophie: When I was little, my breakfast consisted of “brown brown oatmeal,” so named for the box of brown sugar that my brother and I would pour on top of it. I would eat Fig Newtons and have Juicy Juice for a snack while watching “Blue’s Clues.” Later in the day, I would have macaroni and cheese for lunch.
I wouldn’t have done things any other way, myself.
Jennifer: Once I learned more, I paid attention to vegetables and stopped using sugar on much of anything. I still melt more cheese than I should.
One thing I’ve tried to do right all along: Take my kids to farm stands and pick out fresh fruit and vegetables. I make a big deal about how lucky we are to have those foods in our lives.
Sophie: Mom discovered sauteing vegetables. Never have I enjoyed a vegetable more. I have to admit that once the food is plated, I still grate some Parmesan cheese over the top. Cheese is an important part of my diet. When I heat up my chicken noodle soup after school, I have something cheesy with it.
Jennifer: I love to bake — homemade bread and pies, especially. But then I realized all that bread was a major contributor to my being overweight. Now when I bake baguettes, it’s really special. Still, I have to say I’m really proud my daughter knows how to bake bread, and she makes the best pie crust in the world.
Sophie: It’s true: I am so proud of my pies, and my bread is mighty fine. I still can’t envision a meal without bread. Baguette sandwiches are my favorite dinner. Cutting down on bread has been better for the whole family, but it makes me want it more.
Jennifer: I love yogurt and have always eaten it in front of the kids and offered it to them. But once Sophie decided she didn’t like yogurt, she could barely stand to be near the stuff.