There is a thick fog greeting me this morning as I take in the newspaper. Normally one would find fog annoying. I, on the other hand, think fog signifies we have reached a decent temperature which allow me to run outside for the first time in 10 days. It’s not raining, not snowing, no ice to be seen…so what’s a little fog?
In other news, today’s newspaper has a question in the advice column regarding cookies. A parent wants to know if some cookies are more nutritious than others. The columnist responds by saying you really don’t want children walking around thinking cookies are nutritious as they are no substitute for fruits and vegetables. While she applauds some companies for making a more nutritious version of cookies, children need to understand that they are not a good source of vitamins and minerals and should choose something else.
I often hear discussion on this topic in various forms: Keep our kids away from all sugary processed treats. Eliminate baked goods from classroom celebrations, only buy the “healthy” cookies and packaged snacks, don’t allow any packaged snacks and it goes on and on.
While I agree cookies and other baked goods are not a substitute for fruits and vegetables and other whole foods, sometimes you want (and should have) a cookie. I believe in balance. I believe that “forbidden foods” only makes people want and crave them more. It is a vicious cycle.
We can keep every cookie, candy bar, cake, cupcake, brownie, animal cracker, cereal bar, granola bar, pie and ice cream treat out of our homes. But that doesn’t eliminate them from the outside world.
Our kids are going to see these foods. They aren’t going to disappear from the supermarket shelves, restaurant menus or other kids’ homes.
Sure, I absolutely without a doubt limit processed foods and treats that I keep in our pantry. I love to bake and I try to bake fresh goodies made with wholesome ingredients to have on hand on any given day.
The snack items I do buy are made with the least amount of added ingredients and preservatives. I choose regular ice cream over sugar free, no sugar added, frozen dairy substitutes. I buy a majority of the cookies, snacks, chips and desserts from Trader Joe’s.
I work very hard to instill good eating habits in my son. I offer him a wide variety of fresh fruits and healthy options every day. I make him delicious (and healthy) desserts using fruits and he loves every bite. He has learned from me that delicious and indulgent can come from a baked apple, oatmeal raisin cookies, banana snack cakes, fruit and peanut butter, dark chocolate dipped fruits and so on.
But, I always always say you can have a slice of cake when we are out for dinner should you want it. We can stop for an ice cream cone on a beautiful day in the summer. Godiva Chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Sure.
My belief is that if the majority of your diet is clean and balanced eating, there is room for a good dessert or snack should you truly want it.
If we try to limit every aspect of a child’s desires, they will only want it more. And that is what leads to cravings and possible binge eating down the road.
This goes for adults as well.
Yes, companies are trying to make lower fat versions of their packaged goodies. But if they aren’t tasty, they aren’t satisfying. When you aren’t satisfied, you end up eating more than if you were to just have the real thing.
I can’t speak for anyone else. This has always been my belief, and it works for me and my family.
As I am writing this post, my son actually just asked why I never send him “regular” Doritos or “regular” Lay’s potato chips like the other kids for snack time at school.
As much as I hate the processed full fat loaded with high fructose partially hydrogenated can’t pronounce at all what the heck is in the package chip, I just may buy it. Let him bring it to school a few times and know it is not off limits.
My guess is that he will bring the chips to school a few times, know they are not off limits, craving will be satisfied and forgotten.
At least I hope.
Anyone else have an opinion on this topic? Do you have any foods that are considered off limits in your house?