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A friend of mine commented that her daughter comes home telling her that the other kids don't bring veggies for snack time. She told her daughter that she new that M1 did! So, at least I know that I have helped one mom justify her lunchbox choices.
Not all of M1's lunchbox's can be winners. Today she asked for a peanut butter and honey sandwich. I did my best to balance it out with some protein and produce. Not that a peanut butter (organic, crunchy) and honey (organic, raw, unfiltered honey) sandwich is the worst thing I could give her, but there is just so much sugar involved. Especially since today's bread is not my favorite sprouted grain bread.
I see this as a treat, and my belief on anything that I deem a treat is not to avoid them entirely, but to teach my children the art of moderation.
The Art of Moderation
What is this art of moderation I speak of, you ask. Well, in my life I have found that making a strict (I will never eat that) mindset backfires. Have you ever told yourself something like, "I am not eating baked goods." What is the first thing you start to crave, baked goods, right? Well, I believe the same goes for children. If you start to make a big deal out of something, like sweets for example, there becomes this "forbidden fruit" mentality. I know a couple of close friends and family members who have found themselves in this situation. Their children are not obsessed with candy, and sneak and hide it when they can. We actually went through a little period of this.
I started off as an avoider mom. I really did not want my kids to have candy...which until they are a certain age is easy and a good rule. Once they start to see it, and understand it, things get tricky. I would hide the Halloween candy, and holiday treats, and divvy it out like rations. M1 got into the awful habit of hiding candy in her room. I would find dresser drawers full of empty wrappers and wonder where they even came from. It then dawned on me. I had made candy a "forbidden fruit." Something to be pined after, something that if caught would be frowned upon, I had made it way cooler than it really was.
So, I changed. Instead of keeping the candy hidden away, I put it on the kitchen counter in a clear container for all to see. We made candy rules, yes. We made them as a family, with the kids, so everyone agreed and was on the same page. We talked about moderation and how eating too much can make us sick, and how it's bad for our teeth, yadda yadda. Let's be honest, at the point of rule setting all this went in one ear and out the other. It was the months after this, that these became important. I started giving them candy when they asked, as long as the parameters fell into our set of rules. There was no deviating from the rules.
I even went so far as to let M1 eat so much candy she got a stomachache, and I used this to teach her the art of moderation. It is okay to enjoy a treat on occasion, they are special and meant to be enjoyed in the moment, savored, and then move on. When we continually eat these treats, they are not enjoyed or savored, we are not taking the time to really take in this special treat. When we eat in excess these treats make us sick. We associated how bad she felt with how much she had eaten of the candy. Honestly, that was all it took! The one time she ate so much she got sick, and I used it as an example of self control and enjoying special things for what they are.
How often do my kids eat candy, treats? Maybe once every couple of weeks. It's not something they really ask for, I think that now that the stigma of candy is gone, it's not that big of a deal. I used candy as an example, but this can apply to anything, TV, Video Games, etc...It's sort of a reverse psychology (Kids are good at this one). They tend to fixate on the opposite of what you want them to. You want them to not obsess about candy, but the more you make it a "forbidden fruit" they more they want it. They more often you tell them they can't do or have something, the cooler it becomes and the more they want it.
This thought may not work for you and your family, it is just what I have found with mine.
This same thought applies to hot lunches at school. I know they are not the best for them, but the more I am against them, the cooler they become. If I let her have a hot lunch when she asks, then she does it, its over and she moves on.
Throw Moderation to the Wind, and our greatest pleasures become our greatest pains.