- Sweet treats are always available in our house, including my 7 year old son.
- When he was a little kid and a picky eater, I would offer him ice cream to pick up some calories.
- I want to teach him healthy eating habits without restricting any types of food.
My 7 year old son happily counted his Halloween candy to 104 and was happy with his loot. Since then, he’s eaten maybe seven little candies from his collection. He gave his aunt seven grand for the flight home, and the rest is in a gallon plastic bag in a cupboard that he can access whenever he wants.
Sweets are not a big deal in my house – nothing desirable. They are always available, just not right before bedtime. Since I don’t make a big deal out of sweets, my son doesn’t want sugar all the time.
My parents had the same attitude
When I was growing up, the family friends we spent time with made sweets a special treat that we only ate once a week. The kids would be so excited – they lived for the moment.
Meanwhile, my parents had a laissez-faire approach to sugar. I didn’t understand how a person could be so exuberant over a piece of candy.
It taught me a lesson: Never treat food as a reward.
When my son was a toddler, he was a picky eater and I was desperate to get him to eat. I began to offer him ice cream often, thinking that at least there was calcium in it. He ate two bites, put down his spoon, and asked for a carrot.
I also offered cookies every day. Once on the playground, he threw one away, and several 3-year-olds and their guardians looked at me in surprise. One kid even came up to me and asked for it
I believe in healthy eating
The rarity rule applies here. Sometimes people want something simply because it’s unavailable – not because they really want it, but because they can’t have it.
“Food should never be eaten by parents in a strictly restrictive manner,” said Erica Komisar, a psychoanalyst and parenting counseling expert in New York City. “This can cause a problem with food control, which can lead to rebellion, overeating, and intense food avoidance.”
I am a big supporter of healthy eating. Each meal should contain protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits. I see food as fuel, and the better you eat it, the better you feel.
According to the American Heart Association, American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar a day, which equates to about 60 pounds a year. Meanwhile, we read: “American children consume 81 grams per day, which is equivalent to over 65 pounds of added sugar per year.”
Sugar is addictive and can increase the risk of many diseases, is linked to premature aging and can contribute to tooth decay and weight gain. It also occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, so there is no need to add it to our food.
But realistically we live in a world full of junk food, so I opt for moderation
Soon my son will become even more independent and the only person who will monitor his food intake will be him. I want to teach him healthy habits and self-regulation and to make wise, responsible choices for himself. That’s why I tell him to eat the pie – hoping he’ll follow it with a carrot.