I’m not purposely slacking on my blog. I have every intention of posting more often, but life is getting in the way. Making finding the time particularly hard is Luke’s digestive issues. Poor little guy is having a lot of trouble and it’s really disrupting his sleep. I’m spending a good amount of time rocking and snuggling him, just trying to get him comfortable enough to sleep. His multiple night wakings are leaving me very tired. We have an appointment with a gastroenterologist on Monday, so I am hoping we’ll get some answers and figure out how to help him. Until then, I’ll just keep trying to sneak in posts when I can. Like right now, while Meghan naps and Luke hangs out on my lap. I don’t know if you can tell, but just as I snapped this picture, he was spitting up. 2 1/2 hohours after his last feed. And that part about Meghan napping? I take it back. She’s actually calling out, “Mooommmmy! Oh, Moooooommmmy! I can’t sleeeeeepppp!” It seems her napping days are on their way out the door. Okay, needless explanation over, and onto today’s topic.
Candy. Junk food. Treats. All the sugar-laden foods you only want to be in your kids’ life on a minimal basis. I long ago realized that completely sheltering my children from eating these things was not a realistic goal. When Meghan started preschool this year, it became even more clear how prevalent sugary, processed foods are in our culture, but that’s a post for another day.
Instead of trying to ban all of the unwanted junk from crossing Meghan’s lips, I’ve tried to take a more balanced approach. I keep the food I don’t want her eating out of our house as much as possible, and try to be relaxed about the food she eats in social situations and at school. The majority of food she eats is still coming from me, and I’m serving her up healthy, whole foods, so I figured she’d do okay with this method.
Even with this approach, there are times when candy or junk make their way into our house, especially around holidays. Tim has a bad habit of letting Meghan pick out a “special treat” whenever he takes her to the grocery store. The bakery at the local specialty grocery store bakes its treats from scratch using quality ingredients, but still, I’m glad he doesn’t take her very often.
Last Thursday, he brought her to the store and she picked out a crazy chocolate chip cookie sandwich. Look at that thing. Of course that’s what she picked. I cut off a fourth of the monstrosity and gave it to her after dinner.
The next day, we went to an Easter egg hunt at a friend’s house and she came home with candy that went into her special bowl where such things are kept (where there was still candy from her Valentine’s Day party at school). I had also made some cute Easter treats of a more natural variety, so we had treats a plenty in the house last week.
I allowed Meghan to choose one thing after both lunch and dinner for the next few days. Guess what? I just took the picture of the remaining 3/4 of that crazy cookie sandwich a few minutes ago, right before I threw it away. After that first night, even though I offered, she never asked for it again.
The most favored treat, the one she asked for first and foremost until they were all gone, was the chocolate nest with chocolate-covered almonds. She chose these over the cookie. Over M&Ms. Over some weird bunny marshmallows.
I’m not going to say she didn’t like her other treats, because she pretty much loves chocolate in any form and of course she likes sweet things. But her choosing the healthiest, naturally sweetened treat as her favorite tells me that I am doing something right. Her tastes buds seem to have formed an appreciation for real food that is sweet, but not sickly sweet.
The most important thing to me is that she came to this conclusion on her own. I didn’t push the healthier treat on her more than the others or try to dissuade her from eating the cookie or candies. Each one was offered as a selection choice in a matter-of-fact way.
I think this balanced approach allows her to let her taste buds be the guide. If I told her that the M&Ms were horrible for her because of all the food dyes that could wreck her brain, she would probably have wanted that treat all the more. Forbidden fruit. Doing that would have had the opposite effect and held them high on a pedestal. The treat that mom cares about.
Meghan is definitely not a perfect eater. She doesn’t savor her vegetables, to say the least. In fact, most of the time it’s a struggle to get her to eat them unless they are hidden in smoothies, pancakes, or muffins. This small victory last week, however, keeps my hope alive that she’s heading in the right direction.
I don’t have all the answers when it comes to feeding your kids right. I’m just an everyday mom on a mission, after all. 😉 Thanks for coming along this journey and learning along with me.
QuQuQuestion: What is your approach to feeding your kids candy and unhealthy sweets?