Friday, March 11, 2011

Making healthy treats for your kids

My kids have very different taste buds.

As different as night and day. In fact, the middle one eats so little that I would swear she was switched at birth if I hadn't followed the nurses around neurotically every time they need to do her testing.

She eats nothing but chicken and sausage some days.

The other two eat a nice variety of foods, but I have a couple of pretty amazing Mom rules. #1 No food is off the table. No decadent sweet, no bit of chocolate, no snacks. We don't purchase foods with high fructose corn syrup (with the exception of girl scout cookies, grrrr.) #2- I don't make them eat if they aren't hungry. Ever. I know I've written that before, I don't care. I'm going to write it eight million times until the cows come home and the sun don't shine. Their natural body cues are accurate, they know what their body needs, and I don't want to teach them to ignore them. #3-there's a one bite rule at my house. This stems largely from the time my mom made me frozen blintzes for lunch-runny, undercooked on the inside, burnt on the outside, and served them with a large side of oreo cookies. This was 1985, people. Kids weren't fat, and chemical laden cookies reigned supreme. She went to watch her soaps, I ate the cookies and not the blintzes, after one gag inducing bite.

I sat at that table ALL afternoon, when I was finally sent to bed without supper and told that the starving kids in China would have appreciated the blintzes.

They were gross. I now have blintz trauma that gives me nightmares to this day. My husband is also very, very, very finicky, and has some texture aversions. I'm not going to battle my kids natural tastes, as long as they give it a shot.

But there's a reason I started writing before I got all ramble-y. Treats don't need to be verboten- in fact, I think that over-limiting the good stuff leads to control problems later in life.

That doesn't mean you can't make the good stuff better.

A couple of ideas:
Take your favorite chocolate chip recipe. Sub out one cup of white whole wheat flour for the all purpose flour, add a half a cup of oats. Change part of the butter for fruit puree, I use about half butter (no margarine with icky chemicals, please) and half of whatever I've got. That might be mashed banana, it might be applesauce, it might be prune puree, depending on the recipe, it may even be pumpkin.

For cakes and muffins, you can eliminate the fat all together. I find cookies to cake-y without a bit of actual fat.

Now, start reducing the sugar. I take one tablespoon away each time I bake a recipe, until I find something I'm comfortable with.

Now, that wasn't hard, right?

BTW, I was inspired to write by Dear Crissy's post today.


J A C Q U E L I N E said...

I have four children and they all are very different when it comes to taste. BUT I do NOT cook four different meals. If they do not like what is for dinner after at least one bite. They are free to sit and watch us eat. I am also trying to cut back on sugar... slowly...When I have a sweet tooth I try to eat fruit instead of cake or candy...and High Fructose is a big no no here also and you would be surprised how much stuff it is in. Even the stuff that says "natural" well anyway I am writing way to much. Great to have found your blog! and thanks for the great cookie idea.

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

YIKEs, my kids are the same way! I struggle though bc my little one can do a full day (plus more if allowed) without eating which I know is not good for her. I think she ignores her body cues :(

We try to keep away from High Fructose Corn Syrup whenever possible - I am continually amazed at what you find in! :(

I like your ideas for substituting in some of the healthy stuff - I need to try that.