I have gotten several requests to talk about how to introduce sweets to kids in a way that helps them develop a positive relationship with sweets and avoids the issue of a sweet tooth. Hmmm. I would LOVE to know how to do this?! Oh, I’m the one who’s supposed to write about it? This could be an issue…
Before I talk at all about my kids, I have to disclose the way I was brought up. My mom was a nutty health nut in the 70’s (sorry, Mom). We didn’t have chocolate chip cookies, we used carob chips. There was no soda in my house—I remember trying coke for the first time at age six. We ate Tofutti at home instead of ice cream, or made our own Italian ice out of juice. Several items that were on her NEVER, EVER list include: Oreos, Poptarts, Fruit Loops. To this day, I have never seen her buy any of these things. Poptarts are delicious, however. And yet, when company came over, we did have dessert. (Sometims it was low fat cheesecake, but still….). On Saturday mornings, on the way to the beach, we used to stop at McDonald’s for breakfast. We’d go out for ice crream. We’d bake Christmas cookies at Christmas time, including the Polish deep fried with powdered sugar cookies that were a staple in my Dad’s house when he was growing up. (The mess that made of our kitchen….OMG. I thought my mother was literally going to turn purple when she came home and found us). We never got donuts, but to my mom’s credit, she never got mad when we ate these treats at other people’s house. My best friend often got donuts (and cartoons! Cartoons! We were a tv-free house too) on Saturday mornings. Boy, were those good mornings to spend at her house. But, anyway, the end result for my mom was…..two fairly healthy kids. Although we do not eat carob on a regular basis (does it even really taste like chocolate? I don’t think so), we do have wheat germ in our fridge. Neither my brother nor I are sweet nuts. We sometimes eat those foods, but not often. We eat meat sometimes (although my mother does not) but not often. We aim for a fairly healthy, although not nutty-healthy diet. We don’t have major food issues, thank goodness.
So, this is where I come from. Where you come from colors what you think it best. And, just because my mom did this and it turned out ok doesn’t mean it always will. Or never will. It’s just how I was raised. And, mostly, how I will raise my kids. Although we eat both meat and chocolate in my house, we don’t have a lot of sweets. Sometimes we will make treats for special occasions, and the kids certainly had cupcakes on their birthday, but it’s not a daily thing. We try to have lots of veggies and fruits available, and as of now, my 18 month olds’ favorite foods are blueberries, strawberries and cheese. Hard to go wrong with that! A muchkin from the nice lady at Dunkin’ Donuts who snuck us a few? Sure. I’m not going to say no. (And, in fact, I helped myself to two of the glazed chocolate ones). Cake at a birthday party? Of course. Poptarts for breakfast?! You better believe that’s a no.
I asked the moms of HDYDI and a few themes came through:
2. Thoughtfulness around these issues.
3. Not making treats a forbidden food.
4. Not having dessert every night, so that it is expected.
So, these are my rambling thoughts on sweets and little kids. What are other people’s? Things you’ve seen that you’d never do? Things you’ve seen people do that work really well? Shar e with the rest of us….