Home is Sweet Enough when My Grandson is Around

I am Janella Pennington and I became a grandmother for the first time when my daughter had Elliot, her first son. I loved being a mom to my two kids, but being a grandma, or “Gigi” as Elliot calls me, is extra enjoyable. I pretty much only get to do the fun stuff with him and not as much of the challenging parts that come with parenting. As Gigi, I just want to treat Elliot all the time! But I have been careful to not use sweets as rewards and to find other fun ways to treat him—mainly focusing on play and some healthy snacks.

While I did raise two kids and I like to think I gave them a nutritious diet, my kids are now well into their 30s and new science has come out with new recommended nutrition guidelines. My daughter has had to educate me on the importance of not giving juice to 3-year-old Elliot. Apparently for the first five years, children should drink mostly milk and water. When I was raising my kids, I avoided juices that weren’t 100% juice, but I was under the impression that 100% juice was a good thing to give my kids! It turns out that it can lead to dental decay and weight gain and should be avoided.

So I have swapped out the fruit juices I used to give my son and daughter and instead give Elliot chopped up fruit to get him the full nutritional value of fruit without the health risks that come with juice. And to drink, it’s only water and milk at my house! This is consistent with what Elliot experiences at home, so it’s the norm for him and that makes it easy. When kids only have healthy options in the home, it definitely cuts down on the need to actively restrict the unhealthy options. This way the occasional trip to the ice cream shop is extra special and extra brownie points for Gigi!

Janella Pennington

Grandmother