My reaction so far, to their sugar-seeking has been to enact strong limitations and I'm beginning to rethink that. For one, I find the limit-setting to be draining. For two, it's not possible to control their access to food outside the house, in the case of my 6 year old who regularly receives junk food snacks as part of his public school kindergarten day, and who goes on playdates and attend birthday parties without a parent. When he brings home a piñata booty of 40 pieces of candy, doling it out to him (and younger brother, cuz fairness is paramount when you have more than one kid) takes 3 weeks at one per day. I have such better things to do with my time than rationing Pop Rings!
I have excellent self-control around food, now. A dark chocolate bar often lasts me more than a week (if it remains undetected in my underwear drawer hiding place, that is. There is an adult sugar-seeker in my house, too, and his initials are MY). I would love to eat an excellent pastry every day and down at least 2 glasses of wine in the evening but I've learned I wouldn't actually enjoy the experience so I don't. Having unlimited access to desserts makes me want it less and more than 1 drink of alcohol a night makes me feel like a dessicating rat, ruins my sleep and makes me feel dull the next day.
I came by my excellent self-discipline the hard way, by spending most of my Times Record (Troy, NY) newspaper route earnings on BlowPops and Tootsie Rolls and other corn syrup/food coloring concoctions when I was 10, 11, and 12. Do you remember Teeni drinks (see below)? -I could drink one of each "color" in one sitting!
There's a part of me that wishes I can simply impart good self-discipline to my children without them having to go through the learning part. Well, that's kinda ridiculous, isn't it? Does exposure to crappy food warp their palette in some irrevocable way or might my restrictions actually increase the psychological value of the restricted food?
I've been reconsidering the food restrictions, the idea that I have to set limits in order to encourage healthy eating. If popsicles are made of healthy foods like yogurt and fruit, do I really need to limit them to 1 each if they ask for more, for example? Why? Well, one reason is that it requires time on my part to prepare them and I'd like for the popsicles to last to save me the work of making more. If they eat pounds of expensive grocery store strawberries in one sitting, for example, there won't be strawberries for the rest of the week and Papa and I might not get any; that seems ungenerous. If they are allowed cereal before dinner, than they won't want to eat the meals I make and their diets won't be balanced. True?
I'm gathering information to better understand the dynamics. For instance, I notice Ezra tends to eat lots of one thing one day: he'd happily have dates and strawberries and an apple for his morning meal, but he also consumed 6 filets of flounder for dinner one night. Maybe his diet is balanced but over the week and not the day or meal. Noah will scarf ice cream and follow it with a salad chaser. My boys are very healthy, energetic, and (mostly) happy (except when I'm rationing their birthday party pinata booty!).
This is a timely topic as school ends today and the kids will be home and hungry much more during the summer months. I'll have more to share in time.
|No limits to strawberry eating when we just picked 50 lbs ourselves!|