Anyone who knows me knows how much I love sugar. Sweets kind of rule my life (and it’s not a good thing). So maybe some are surprised to find I don’t let my kids eat sweets. Don’t get me wrong they get plenty of processed sugar. They eat bread and multi-grain waffles, flavored yogurt every now and then. They just don’t eat sweets…cookies, ice cream, all that stuff.
Both of my kids are pretty good eaters. Jones isn’t a huge fan of meat. He usually eats it, but it’s always the last thing to go on his plate. Miles doesn’t love pasta. It’s hit or miss with him, sometimes he eats it, and sometimes he doesn’t. They both eat most foods, though. Vegetables are not a problem. Jones even really likes them. “Every mom’s dream!” they all say! I’m trying to keep it this way, which is why I don’t give them sweets.
Sugar changes the way you taste other things. From where I sit, it seems that once kids realize there are things that taste sweeter than their green beans, they start to prefer those things. They start refusing (or at least not going down without a fight) other healthier foods. I didn’t really intend to not give my kids sugar. I didn’t really have a plan before Jones started eating solid foods. We started with avocado. As I went down the path of trying out different foods, it occurred to me that I wanted him to continue to like the stuff I was giving him after he turned, say…1. Somewhere pretty early on, I decided I wasn’t going to give him any sweets as long as I could help it. Jones is almost 3…and I can still help it. Most of the time, anyway. He has snatched my cinnamon roll before.
Maybe you think I’m mean, but I totally eat cookies in front of my kids, and when they ask for one, I tell them no. Usually I give them something else slightly healthier, or at least less addictive, to eat, so they don’t just have to watch me. Right now, for the most part, it’s not an issue. They don’t throw fits and they don’t feel left out. Sometimes people talk like it will get harder later to keep the sweets away. I think maybe they are right, so at some point I will either finally give in and just give them sweets, or I will change the way I eat. Most likely the latter. I’ve been dreaming of cutting out sugar for a while now, but I’m chicken. Or an addict, whichever you prefer. However, there’s only so much research I can ignore before I change my ways.
Food seems to be a universal love language. I don’t know what it is, but something about a little kid just makes adults extend their food-filled hand. So many people, SOOO many people have offered my kids all sorts of food they don’t eat. Then there are those polite people who actually ask, mid hand-off, “Can they have a _____?” The exchange is always a little awkward as I answer, and there are apologies, and then I launch into my explanation. Maybe one day I won’t feel the need to explain. Maybe it’s the sheer number of times my kids have been offered sweets that makes me think, obviously, everyone else is okay with their little tot eating all the sugar in the world, and I’m just on my own little island. I can’t say exactly, but something about it all makes me feel like the oddball. I guess it wouldn’t be the first time.
I’m sure some people think I’m all uptight when I say “no, he can’t have that”, which is fine with me. I don’t think I really have to make a case on why a 2 year old doesn’t need sugar, or why sugar isn’t good for you. Or maybe I do. Anyway, I used to think that maybe we would allow it on special occasions and things, but I’m starting to think that is just a slippery slope I don’t want to mess with. I obviously am not claiming that we are some super-healthy family…since…you know, I eat cookies. One day, though! No, for real though, my kids eat a lot of crap. Like really bad for you crap. But I somehow don’t think my kids will get addicted to those Ritz crackers the same way they would to those gummy bears. So we’re avoiding the sweets, until we (um, I) bite the bullet and go real health-nut, and would appreciate if you would just…you know…maybe..not offer them any cookies.