Foodie Friday: Desserts? Kids? What to do?

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Categories Feeding, Feeding Older Children, Foodie FridaysTags
Goldfish with friends--does life get any better?
Goldfish with friends--does life get any better?

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:
1. Moderation.
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….

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6 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: Desserts? Kids? What to do?”

  1. Hmmm…. my wheat germ is in a jar in the cupboard. Oh dear, is it suppose to be in the fridge. How about the flax?

    This past 4th of July I let my then 15 month twins eat a ton of junk food they had never had, like cheese puffs, since my kids eat much like yours it seems. It was so funny to watch them, but bed time and sleep did not go too smoothly that night!

  2. I just try to keep a balance of ‘sweets are for sometimes’ and not keeping them off limits so they don’t go nuts when they do get them. I also try to be an example (doesn’t always happen though!) and eat lots of fruits and veggies as my snacks instead of junk and sugary stuff. Hopefully it will help. My only no-no is soda. It’s a grown-up drink in our house and hopefully people will follow that rule when our kids go to visit.
    Also, my older son and I talk a lot about nutrition, and what your body needs to grow, and what certain foods do for your body. He’s weirdly interested in it, so that helps. :)

  3. great post. our boys are 17 months and we do very little dessert in our home. i find that we never really buy cookies or cakes or twinkies, so they never eat them. exception…otter pops. during the summer heat it became a once a day/half for each treat. when we go wrong, we go all out…blue lake dye and corn syrup and all.

    but in seriousness, if we show them that there are sweet alternatives (i.e. dried fruit instead of gummies or roll-ups), it makes me hope they will find this preference as they grow older. we are trying to eat low on the food chain, and trying to keep processed out of the house. i think this tends to make us all eat less in the way of sweets.

    but, a good ice cream break or the occasional treat are not off limits, just very limited.

  4. We don’t have things that are off limits – we just state that the good stuff must be eaten first. (uhm…except on my birthday when we all at cake for breakfast *blush*) Our rule: Watermelon first, jelly beans second. And the second one usually comes with “This is all you’re getting, so please don’t ask for more.” HOPEFULLY, that means that they’re filling up on the good stuff, and not the other stuff….and also don’t see that the “bad” stuff is off limits and therefore want it more. Who knows though 😛 I suppose time will tell.

    It did take them a little while to understand that we weren’t saying “no” to the other stuff, we just wanted them to eat the good stuff first. And it took me a while to realize if I phrased it as ” first, second” they understood it better than if I said “after” or “later”

  5. I grew up in a similar way, except we did eat meat and chocolate lol. Even so, sweets were an occasional thing but not an every day thing, and that’s how I roll with my kids too. I have to admit, my five year old has never had soda, but my eleven year old has had it on rare occasion since he was seven. I never buy it for the house, just if we go out, and even then, RARELY. I think you’re right on target with your thoughts.

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