we've recently moved to where we're around family, and with family comes a whole other culture of food for my ds. hes starting to ask why he cant have soda etc. i strongly believe that the way i feed my family is right and i dont even think im "extreme". i let my son eat chips on the weekend with daddy or a dessert 1-2 a month at a restaurant or occassion. but other than that its just all around food. fruit, veggies, meat, grains, etc.
so how often do you eat "normally'? desserts? candy? soda? processed and packaged foods? ever? never? in between? just trying to figure out if i really am a control freak:)!
The reason I posted is to give you an example to hold on to when someone says, "But ALL children (fill in with whatever)", or "But children NEED (fill in whatever)". Children can be happy and healthy without soda, candy, cookies (unless homemade, with fruit juice), etc.
It can be tough when family members don't agree with your choices. Hang in there, and do what you think is best!
We never ever have dessert or sweets of any kind in the house and haven't since my daughter was about 10 years old (she is grown now) and we transitioned to low-carb.
We have no honey, molasses, refined sugar, syrup - nothing like that. We don't drink juice. We also don't eat higher-fructose fruits such as grapes, peaches, apples, pineapple. The only fructose we eat is berries and dried fruits like apricots and goji.
We don't really eat grain foods much either, no bread at all and only a small serving of pasta about twice a week.
My daughter didn't care for sweets very soon after the transition, and we never miss them. Sometimes she eats carby foods, usually in a social situation, like spaghetti or pizza, but not very often and she doesn't feel well after eating it.
To be polite I will accept a small piece of birthday cake at a celebration, for example, and eat only a few little bites.
I had to offer a wide variety of savory foods to help my daughter transition away from carbs at first (prior to this I had been juicing and using honey and grains in the traditional Weston Price fashion, so we were all pretty addicted to carbs, both physically and psychologically).
I don't think you are being controlling. You (and my family) are not typical, but low-carb and whole food eating is catching on. It's much more widespread now than when I made my transition.
P.S. we are all a normal weight here!
My toddler gets absolutely no soda and I'm going to hold off on that as long as possible. Otherwise, we generally don't have sweets or processed foods around the house, but I also don't make a big deal about them. Maybe a couple times of week she'll get some chocolate chips or M&Ms, a popscicle or ice cream a couple times a month, and really sugary treats like cake only on special occassions.
I try to aim for an 80/20 diet - 80% healthy, whole, homemade foods. 20% of the time, whatever. There are no "bad" foods, even "unhealthy" things can be very good for your mental health. Sometimes a bowl of ice cream is absolutely healthy because not feeling deprived is also part of mental health, at least for me.
I think thats the kind of philosophy i need to live by in terms of 80/20 because i can be a really disciplined and strict person when it comes to my own health, but im really wanting to teach ds1 healthy eating habits as well as a healthy state of mind. i tell him we need healthy foods for our body, but treats are good sometimes because they feed our soul. and i personally believe that he gets many foods that i would prefer him not to, yet he still makes me feel like hes deprived, when he asks why cant he have soda or apple gusher things etc. so im having a hard time figuring out whats the best way to go about talking with him about food.
I had a hard time with all the "no"s I was saying to my children regarding sweet treats. This, of course, would be an escalated situation whenever they spent a day at Gramma and Grampa's where sweets abound and Grampa used the kids as a way to get treats for himself.
So I found a way to say "yes" whenever I was asked if they could have candy or dessert:
"Mom, can we have (insert favorite sweet here)?"
"Yes, you can choose that for your Friday Dessert! Is that what you would like?"
I let go of my desire to have only homemade sweets and compromised because they would ask daily, or multiple times a day, and I didn't like the way it was affecting our relationship and their relationship to food. Sweets went from being something constantly-desired-and-constantly-denied to being a "sometimes" food with NO struggle. It was almost like magic. Fridays became dessert days and I could say yes to every sweet request and it was up to them to decide what they wanted when it came to dessert day. I think they were 3 and 8 years old when I started. Eventually the requests stopped and the excited planning began. This week they (now 8 and 13) planned on strawberry/rhubarb crisp and made it themselves.
I did not want to go into how certain sweets are "bad" for us. While I have strong opinions about what foods are healthy and unhealthy, I really don't want my children to grow up with a lot of judgement about food. By keeping food healthy at home they notice how it doesn't feel as good when they eat at grandparents or when we happen to get fast food. I haven't had to say anything . . . other than "I'm sorry you don't feel well" and then I ask what they ate and ask what they think might make them feel yucky. They're pretty astute at figuring things out and I didn't have to go into Super Nutritionalist This Is BAD For You! Momma mode.
Now, when we have a weekend where there is a party and lots of sweets we all have to be extra aware of the cravings that come up after such a binge. For all of us! It takes a week (sometimes 2) to have the cravings go away. Probiotics help.
I'm sure you'll figure out something that will work just right for your family. You're not so different than most families we know.
OrmEmbar, I like your approach. It empowers your kids and removes food as a topic of defiance/struggle.
My daughter didn't ask for sweets because I just didn't have any to offer. She always had spending money and sweets were often available, even in the school cafeteria (USA) :( I don't know how often she indulged, but I don't think it was often. She commented on the fatigue, irritability, hyperactivity, binge eating, and pallor of her classmates from time to time. She would come home from parties hungry and eat real food.
As I experienced what you describe in terms of cravings for sweets and the occasional sweets, I changed my thinking about sweets as being a "treat." Not to sound too radical, but occasionally hurting myself as an indulgence is hardly a treat. To me, loving myself and "treating" myself is about eating as well as I can all the time. That is the only real "treat" for me. My daughter saw my example and feels the same way. Every wholesome meal we are privileged to have is a treat. A fine piece of meat or an ethnic meal while abroad is a treat. Sweets are no longer viewed as a treat, to us.
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