In our house, we have a “one treat a day rule” where we will indulge in a little treat. You must be thinking what kind of a dietitian let’s her kid have treats on a daily basis. It’s not as bad as you think, I promise. Let me explain. My eating philosophy is simple, eat good food, mainly homemade with quality ingredients, without deprivation. I strive for a 80/20 balance, 80% of the time we eat well, mostly plant based. We also eat for pleasure, just try to aim for no more than 20% of the time.
First and foremost this rule does not apply to my youngest daughter whom is almost two. At this young age she will be lucky if she gets anything sweet in a week. Young kids and babies’ are curious and will try almost anything put in front of them. I truly believe when introducing solids one should take advantage of the curious stage and provide a wide variety of flavours and textures. Plus, there is no way to rationale with a child under the age of two. I feel around the age of three kids are able to have a little understanding about the basics of good nutrition.
Being a dietitian, I was determined my kids would never eat anything processed. When I got pregnant I made sure I ate plenty of vegetables, fruit, fish, and limited sugar. I made all my own baby food. I took advantage of Miss E’s curiosity and gave her a wide range of foods with different textures. I felt like I had succeeded in feeding my baby as she ate everything we ate and had a great appetite. I will never forget the time I picked up Miss E from daycare and she was almost in tears because I had informed the daycare staff that I didn’t want her to have any fishy crackers. I totally forgot this request I had made when she first started, while I was happy they fulfilled my request I also felt sad that she felt left out. Whether you like it or not your child will be exposed to unhealthy food, whether it’s at school,a playdate, halloween, or grandma’s house, its unavoidable. I also don’t want to raise my girls to believe that any food is “bad” instead it’s about balance.
There are many foods that I will NOT buy, ever. However, I prefer to make most of my food from scratch using real high quality ingredients. One of these items I will not buy is store bought cookies. Instead Miss E and I will occasionally make homemade cookies which is a great way for us to enjoy some quality time and I have control over the ingredients. Because I prefer to make most foods from scratch we have very little sweets in the house, as I am writing this post there are no cookies, loafs, or muffins in the house.
What I consider a treat may be an everyday food that is served regularly at another person’s house. For example, I grew up most days with cold cereal, second ingredient sugar, had a juice box in my lunch, some sort of sugar filled fruit snack, and very little whole foods. Sorry mom. This just wouldn’t happen in my house. We always start our day off with a good breakfast such as these toasted oats and make sure both vegetables and fruit are served at every lunch and dinner. My girls have very few foods with added sugars or artificial flavours or ingredients. With all the health concerns such as attention deficit disorder, diabetes, overweight, and obesity I plan on keeping it this way.
Usually the treat occurs at the end of the day. Why? If we have gone to a birthday party or bbq where I know there will be plenty of “treats” there will be no treat at the end of the day. A treat might be an ice cream, a brownie, dark piece of chocolate, or a handful of chocolate covered dried fruit or as Miss E calls them” chewies”. Of course we brush Miss E’s teeth very well after a treat to prevent dental caries.