Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Sweet Life

Facebook seems to be taking over my time online, so I'm trying to redeem things by posting tonight. And hey, if you are reading this on Facebook, jaunt on over to my blog and help up my visitors! Thanks for checking in!

American Baby recently had an article about junk food and how to include it in your family's diet without going completely nutso. 'Cause lets face it, we all know it's bad for us. Right? Right.

#1 Introduce treats as a regular part of your child's diet early on.
Check. Of course, this wasn't completely my doing. Apparently I'm a little Type A (ha!) so many of my family members, mostly the male ones, like to torment me by trying to give my babies cookies and cake before they've gotten past the pureed baby food. Ice cream seems to be made for those little guys. And what kiddo doesn't love an Oreo!

In our house, desserts are few and far between, simply because I do not enjoy cooking OR baking all that much, and although the meal is required and necessary, dessert is not. This summer we've been doing a bit more, just because there are so many yummy fruits available - fruit smoothies, bananas with chocolate pudding or ice cream, or mango with vanilla ice cream...

When the kids get candy from a holiday or birthday, they get to eat some, then I confiscate the rest to a bowl on the countertop. I let them have a piece now and then if they ask - usually after a meal, not before! Or randomly in the afternoon. I feel that if they know they can have ONE piece now and then, candy loses the appeal that would make them overindulge. So far, the only thing they've snitched to eat behind the couch is trail mix - but of course they were eating the M & M's out of it. I would be too.

#2 Keep it small and sweet.
The recommendation is to watch portion sizes and limit treats to after dinner. We're good with the after dinner thing - chips don't even get suggested until the sandwiches are almost gone - but the portions could use some improvement! If the bag of tortilla chips comes out, it's hard for me to stop. But come on - tortilla chips are on the low end on the scale of evil snacks.

#3 Don't attach emotional baggage to food.
As in, don't use treats as a reward or punishment for behavior. It is sooo tempting to do this! I've had to really focus on a reward chart for Leah instead of saying, "no dessert!". Of course, this does come in at dinner time, but that's a different matter. And we have used little things for potty training motivation. But seeing as Ben still prefers to poop in his pants, I don't think he has any "emotional baggage" from those gumdrops.

#4 Take care to preserve those pearly whites.
I LOVE this! What I took from this part is that chocolate is better for me than crackers! Mostly because the chocolate dissolves away from your teeth while crackers and chips get stuck in them. So I made sure to tell the kids to drink some water after they eat their fishy crackers, and then of course had to explain all the science behind cavities, etc. However, I guess we have to face the fact that the fortified flour in the crackers is better for your BODY than chocolate...oh well. For a while there, I was excited.

#5 Limit sticky food to an occasional treat.
Here's the shocker: fruit snacks are sticky. I know! I was bummed too. It's the same principal as the crackers. The article recommends brushing your child's teeth after they eat something sticky. Okay, usually I really hate the phrase "I didn't (sit in a carseat, go to the doctor, drink milk, etc.) , and I'm okay!" but I'll use it in this case. It's hard enough to remember to brush Ben's teeth twice a day, much less after every sticky food...not that he eats that many. But he'd eat a lot less if I "stuck" to this rule!

#6 Be a healthy role model.
We sure try. I save most of my treats for after kids are in bed, and even then I don't completely overindulge. Aaron and I are careful to limit our sodas to a max of one a day, and discuss that fact. But I did realize the other day that I was complaining about the size of my thighs. And really, as long as my pants size is in the single digits, should I be whining about that in the earshot of my 5 year old daughter? Probably not.

Overall, the perfect parenting article for me: one that made me feel good about myself, but also pointed out some non-threatening or not-too-drastic ways of improving things. We can all use some constructive criticism once in awhile, right? Now I'll get back to finishing my popsicle.


JJ and EJ said...

That time BJ got up on the kitchen buffet chairs and sneaked a piece of candy... I *think* that's the only time I've seen a kiddo have a treat before a meal. ; ) heehee

Lyz said...

Ooh, yeah. That HAS happened. But it was only ONE piece! And I try not to freak out too much - I mean, one piece is not going to completely ruin his dinner. I just didn't like the stealth involved!

AJ said...

Visiting friends or relatives always brings out a little extra risk taking in the kids