A = Attitude. What’s your attitude about sweets and treats as a Mom or Dad? I’m hoping it’s a healthy one, which in my opinion means never saying these foods are off-limits, “bad” or “junk.” You realize and respect that some foods contain more nutrients than others, and some foods are meant to be enjoyed regardless of their nutrient value. So, you model this all-inclusive attitude as a parent, and by doing so, teach your kids how to have “healthy respect” for ALL foods. Treats, sweets and desserts can be enjoyed and what matters is “how often” and “how much.” They ultimately need to be balanced within your overall eating plan. And just FYI: I enjoy a treat Every Day.
B = Balance. You balance those sweet, treat and dessert calories in two ways. First, portion size. It’s reasonable to enjoy four chocolate chip cookies, but do you need to eat one DOZEN in a sitting? No, not if you’ve applied and practiced healthy attitude (see above if you need reminding!) because you’ve given yourself permission to eat anything. In moderation. In sensible portions. The second way to balance sweets, treats and desserts, especially in packed lunches, is by alternating those choices that are pure, unadulterated decadence (think Triple Chocolate Cake with sugar, butter, white flour, eggs = pure decadence) with those offering some “perks” or “nutrient benefits” with that decadence (think fruits and veggies in traditional desserts).
C = Coupon Fun. Create a paper coupon template “One Trade Allowed” on your computer, print it out once a week and place it front and center in your child’s lunch. This gives her/him permission to trade a dessert, sweet or treat with someone else at their lunch table!
D = Desserts with Perks and Benefits include my recipes for Whole Grain Oatmeal Raisin Date Bars, Blondies with Chips and Walnuts, Frosted Whole Grain Pumpkin Bars and even Cherry Chocolate Clusters. (Use the “Find one of Kim’s recipes” search bar on the right of my Blog). Or, if you just want to pick something up at the store, opt for oatmeal raisin cookies, pudding cups (calcium), trail mix with nuts, seeds, fruits and candy pieces, chocolate-covered raisins/dried fruit or chocolate-covered peanuts or almonds.
Happy, healthy eating in this New School Year!