Do you/ how do you restrict treats? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-16-2012, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For the purposes of this thread, "treats" can be defined any way you want.  

 

It could be for your family that dried fruit needs to be relegated to "treat status".  I even knew a little boy who would eat fruit until he gave himself diarrhea!  Maybe sugar needs to be tightly restricted, or maybe your kids do fine with a little-- or even a lot by others' standards.  Is popcorn verboten because it makes them hyper?  Or do you find it a good, wholesome substitute for potato chips?  

 

Do they have to "earn" their treats?  How strict are you about that?  Is it fairly easy to earn them, perhaps because then they stop bugging you for the remainder of the day?  (That's exactly how it is in our house.)  Or do they bother you relentlessly?  Have you given up on offering treats entirely because of this pestering?  Or has it gone away once you loosen up the rules a bit?

 

Is your dc pretty good at self-regulating?  Terrible?  Are your rules strict, or have you found success in giving your child more say in what they would like to eat, and when?  How has that worked for your family?

 

Do you ditch "the rules" when you go on trips, and camping?  Does the length of the trip make a difference?  Do they have trouble going back to the routine afterwards?

 

This is not a questionnaire, just the kinds of questions to get the ball rolling.  If you feel that the issue of restricting treats cannot be discussed outside of the issue of diet decisions as a whole, then please, share your thoughts about that.  Or whatever else you think is relevant.

 

How have your rules changed, either because of circumstance, or because the kids got a bit older?

 

Again, you can answer these questions or not, tell your story, experiences, worries.

 

I don't really have any problems right now that need solving, but my girls are getting older, and I'm starting to think about this a bit.  My oldest 7yo, is eating more diversely again,  and doesn't put up fits because she can't eat granola morning through evening.  She makes some really good decisions by herself, on the whole.  

 

Not toddlers anymore, it's time to reexamine my role in making diet decisions for them, especially concerning treats.  I want to know what this looks like in others' homes.

 

I do ask one thing: for the purposes of this thread, let's pretty please respect that some of us--myself included-- feel that sugar is OK in moderation, at least in general if not for every person.


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Old 06-16-2012, 10:02 AM
 
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I keep treats in the house and my kids probably have a couple a day. I do not call them treats but just what ever food item they are. I want my children to be able to self regulate themselves. This is something I feel that many adults can not do, myself included. There are food items that I will not buy or make because I can not control myself around them. We've always talked about what kids of food are good for you, what kinds taste good but are not healthy, etc... Due to our limited storage/pantry space for a family of 6, our food is sprinkled between 2 regular fridges/freezers, 1 stand alone freezer, and 3 closets. I tend to keep sweets, chips, juices, those types of food in the fridges or closets that are not the closest but the kids can get. I do ask that they ask permission for things like popsicles (for the younger kids anyway) but I usually say yes. The more children I have, the more school lunches I pack for more kids, and the more organized sports teams that keep us constantly on the go, the more grab and go type of food I keep around. Back when I had two children not in school, we didn't even have juice, chips, those types of things in the house. 


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Old 06-16-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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I don't often have sweets in the house because they're too tempting, but if I do, then I allow them moderately, like no more than one sweet a day. I don't punish them if the sneak extras - I take that to mean they have as hard a time resisting them as I have, and an example of why we seldom have them around.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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I don't link treats to behaviour because I don't want food to be associated with reward or punishment. When my 2yo eats treats tends to be fairly random and usually triggered by her asking for something. We do have some general rules - ice cream after dinner (or sometimes when she and DH are watching helicopters land and take off near the best gelato shop in town), no more than one treat/day and only a couple of treats a week. If we've already had ice cream a couple of times then I just say no we've already had lots this week and it's not good for our bodies to have too much.

I also restrict dried and fresh fruit both for sugar concerns and because she gets diarrhoea if she has too much. Again I just say no more as it will give you a sore tummy and I offer an alternative. Sometimes she gets upset so I empathize and tell her I wish she could eat [desired food] all day long but it's not good for her body to do that.

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Old 06-17-2012, 05:46 AM
 
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I've read a great book lately about children and weight; it says there that people in general are pretty good self-regulators if we follow some basic rules. Firstly, be fully aware when we eat, meaning no distraction, TV, reading while eating etc. Secondly, we need to allow ourselves to get hungry in order to follow our body's cues and eat until we are satisfied. If we graze all day we tend to tune out our body's signals. And thirdly, to not impose onto ourselves any rules or diets because our mind and body get into panic mode and we start to overeat.

 

I feed my children with these principles in mind. We have three meals and two snacks a day, all eaten at the table. The kids get dessert every day, but one portion only after dinner and they know it's not negociable. Once in a while I bake and they get cookies and milk for a snack and they can eat as much as they want. None of us are very much into salty treats like chips, but I serve those maybe once a month as a snack. They are pretty good self-regulators because they know meals, snacks and "treats" are regular. Imposing rules actually makes them overeat and beg for food.
 


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Old 06-17-2012, 08:27 AM
 
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I was raised in a home where 'treats' was a non-existent term.  We also only ate when we were hungry and never on a 3 square meals plus intermittent snacks schedule.  My mother was of the impression that when you do nothing and expend no energy, then your body really doesn't need much extra calories, and when you are active and expend more energy then you need more calories.  We also never had cokes or little debbies and although I hated not being like the other kids in the neighborhood because I had raw broccoli and carrots and they had chocolate brownies, I and my four siblings also NEVER had cavities until were were old enough to buy our own snacks and such.  My first cavity was when I was 16 years old. 

 

Now, in my house we are about the same.  We don't really have a food schedule and eat when we are hungry.  I have three children the oldest 11 and youngest 2 with no cavities as of yet (and the dentist is so surprised!). We also as a family talk about and regulate our 'treats'.  Dark chocolate is our go to sweet and sometimes ice cream.  We make pumpkin bread and cookies and they love graham crackers and peanut butter, and yogurt(not the frilly cartoon character yogurt just plain yogurt).  They eat raisins, many types of crackers, vegetable chips, corn chips and cheese dip or humus.  Lots of fruits and veggies.  There are a few mini candy bars of a generic brand that we get sometimes.  I have noticed if we do have lots of bad treats like through the holidays, it takes a bit to get back to the fruits and veggies but persistence pays off. 

 

We do not allow artificial colors and have spoken to the children about why this is so.  If anyone is unaware of the origins of food dyes you can look into it.  I have chosen not to feed my children petroleum by-products.  I am not evil and sometimes at birthday parties I let them have a colorful cupcake with the admonition that they are eating plastic.  Artificial food coloring for the most part has not been studied by the FDA and was grandfathered in and the ones that have been study over the years were restricted and taken out of use for food.  We also severely limit High Fructose Corn Syrup almost to none.  The refining process for this sweetener can leave trace amounts of mercury, but trace amounts in everything you eat adds up quickly. 

 

All in all my kids do pretty good self regulating themselves and none of them have any weight issues or health problems.  My eldest is autistic, but for the most part people say they would have never known she had that diagnosis.  One of my boys likes to sneak into the cabinet and steal food, but it is usually the organic pop-tarts and not chocolate, but I think he is mostly asserting his independence and not a food regulation problem.  We do not really give snacks as a reward, we do say 'hey, when we are finished here cleaning up then we can all have a tea party and some crackers'  or whatever snacks we so choose.  The kids love the tea party and using little spoons to splosh bits of sugar into their tea, even my boys. 

 

I truly believe it is the youngest years in a humans life that sort of sets a standard for their body type throughout their life.  Genetic research is showing how genes can be switched on and off by certain chemical exposures, so the most that we can do as parents is to help lessen the exposure during these crucial times in their lives and also live by example.        

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Old 06-17-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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The only regular "treat" we keep in the house at all times is ice cream, chocolate chips and corn/tortilla chips. We only eat ice cream on Sundays, after church.  It's our little family tradition, we get ice cream after church every Sunday. smile.gif  The chocolate chips they can have whenever they want as long as they are mixed with something (like yogurt or oatmeal..not just plain).  And, the corn chips are only for eating with beans or meat...we use corn chips instead of hard taco shells or soft tortillas when we have tacos.

 

The only other time we have treats is if I bake something (usually only happens on holidays/special occasions) or if we had a party and have leftover potato chips or juice or something.  When that happens, I let them eat as much as they want.    After Halloween or Easter (when we have candy), I limit them to 1-3 pieces a day until it is gone. . 
 


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Old 06-17-2012, 10:24 AM
 
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I've recently (within past 3-4 months) told my oldest dd that she can go ahead and eat "her candy" (this is her jar of candy, probably mostly from halloween or other holidays and given by friends/family) when she wants, provided it's not in the morning or right before a meal, or sometime when I've asked her not to eat any (for a specific reason, like I've just made a chocolate cake or we're about to go out for ice cream and I don't want her over-jazzed up on sugar).  Previous to this, I insisted she always ask first (and would usually say yes, but also limit the amount for her).  

 

 

She's become pretty reasonable about candy, and really never gorges herself on it such that I'd worry.  I do encourage larger servings of what I view as 'healthier' treats (ice cream, pies, homemade stuff that has some sort of health quality and isn't just sugary) as opposed to lots of junky candy and she's come to follow that on her own - pairing pie or chocolate chip muffin with some plain yogurt or fruit, stuff like that.  Having a smaller candy or gum when she knows we'll probably have ice cream later in the day.   

 

 

Both kids here can tend to be picky eaters, so days when they're not doing well on their own with that (totally avoid eating the veggies, end up doing a whole day basically of bread/cheese) I don't suggest other treats and/or I insist on something of better quality before we go on to have something treat-ish.  That's pretty much the extent I try to do any form of 'earning' treats.  

 

 

My oldest has come around to understanding this balance pretty well, and there have been times she's turned down a sweet because she knows she's eaten some other treat on that particular day orngbiggrin.gif.  There were times when she'd constantly want candy (toddler-times, pretty much) and what I did was we'd have something once and every other time xylitol mints.  I think we started getting chocolate milk /soymilk sometimes then because we figured that would probably be a better more frequent choice for her.  She's selective enough now that she won't go for candy just cause it's candy, she'll go for it only if it's specific candy she likes (which I think is a pretty decent way to self-regulate, and I totally wasn't like that as a kid.  I'd go for any candy I could get, partly because we never got candy or other treats and were more likely to be given candy.  I totally would have preferred pies or homemade cookies myself, but my mom didn't do that stuff.)  

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Old 06-18-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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We try not to have a lot of "treat" stuff in the house although our household is 7 adults and 2 kids so it is difficult.  Usually treats are kinda "hidden" (in the back of the freezer, on top of the fridge etc) this is as much about storage issues as treat issues.  We try to limit the availability so that when it is around we can feel good about eating it. We do go out for "ice cream" (its actually frozen yogurt, although I don't *really* believe that makes it healthier) when we go to Trader Joe's (once or twice a month).  We are going camping at an amusement park next week with several other families and one of the families has been encouraging "Ice Cream Every Day!!!!" as our vacation policy (this is coming from the mom, not the kids!)  So we definitely "lighten up" around vacations.


We try to avoid artifical colors and high fructose corn syrup as much as possible.  

At home we try to do mostly homemade baked goods.

 We don't really limit fruit, dried fruit, crackers etc (except to make sure others get some).

 We have chips around sometimes but not often and then ds is allowed to eat potato chips, tortilla chips we usually have around but he only requests them if we are eating beans and rice or guacamole or something like that, never asks for them as a snack.

 

Ds's school does not allow sugary treats in lunches which is great!  Juice boxes are also frowned upon at school so he doesn't ask for stuff like that in his lunch because he knows he can't have it.

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Old 06-18-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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We generally don't keep "treats" in the house.  I personally find it too tempting to have certain items around.  I am sure if I did keep goodies around I would be overweight.  That said we do have desserts just not on a daily basis.  When we go to dinner at my parents there is always some kind of dessert and I let the kids enjoy that.  We sometimes go out for an ice cream or will buy a package of popsicles in the summer.  

 

I try my best to teach my kids about why it is important to choose healthy foods most of the time, and I try to keep it really low key with them eating goodies.  I don't want them to get too caught up in "needing" treats.  I don't use them as rewards or try to make a big deal about it.  My kids don't really get what "dessert" is.  

 

This works well for us. 


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Old 06-18-2012, 01:58 PM
 
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lurk.gif  This is a very interesting discussion. DS is still a baby, so I'm not in a place to have to make any decisions about this yet, but I'm curious as to what will work for us in the future.

 

I do have a question for those who don't really regulate treats in your house, yet have children who do not overindulge. Do you think that your family is naturally inclined to self-regulate, or do you think that your outlook on food is what drives their behaviors on food?  I like the idea of not having to regulate treats in my house in the future, but like some other PPs mentioned, I personally cannot self-regulate that well. It is very easy for me to choose healthful foods when I'm shopping, but once things are in my house, I always go for the sweetest, most sugary thing in the house... and lots of it! But, for me growing up, treats were not regulated in my house or used as rewards, so I can't really point to that as my reason for my overindulgence.


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Old 06-18-2012, 02:42 PM
 
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^^THERE IS NO SPOILER, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO GET THIS OFF! LOL!^^

 

I'm glad you started this thread and have all these questions, it comes at a perfect time in our lives since my boys are learning to ask me to buy certain goodies and I am trying to decide what and how much is okay. 

 

So far, with a 3 year old and almost 2 year old, I personally do not buy or offer them many treats.  To us, treats are ice cream, candy, cookies, cake, muffins that are meant to be desserts, chips or packaged "goodies" (fish crackers, for example.)  Things that might be treats to others but to us are everyday snack essentials are popcorn, graham crackers, sometimes Ritz crackers, fruits of all kinds, muffins with veggies baked in, and Nutella. 

 

I give my kids treats when they behave exceptionally well in a situation that I know would push their limits.  Example - taking them on an hour long shopping trip to the market, with them sitting quietly in the shopping cart made me feel like they deserved something extra special.  They got cookies. smile.gif   Or the time they walked nicely through out the mall, no running or pushing, waited around while I bought a birthday present, they didn't run through the isles or grab the clothes, waited their turn pushing the elevator button.  i mean, they were on their best behavior! Godiva chocolate for them! (And for me, hehe.)  They are 3 and almost 2, I do not expect them to behave perfectly in shopping situations.  I do not let them run amuck, but fussing and wanting to move freely are expected.  The occasional melt down is expected as well, especially if I know they are hungry.  So when they surprise me like this, I like to surprise them!

 

They also get treats from me when we ALL are having a really bad day.  If everyone, myself and my dh included are in a funk and can't stand each other, we might make an ice cream run just to get some smiles on our faces. 

 

I don't do dessert after dinner.  I think treats should be unexpected and spur of the moment type deal.  

 

My in laws hand out cookies and juice like its air.  eyesroll.gif. They used to pass around whole packages of cookies to the boys, with Capri Suns galore, but I've learned to speak up (which is hard for me, since I expected dh would do it since it is his family, but nope) and now MIL knows to ask before giving cookies, and to only give them a hand full.  Those are big steps for her, generally no one questions her.  

 

At the moment, I regulate the treats.  We pretty much are bad at setting food limits, so out of sight, out of mind.  My dh wants to eat healthy, but he doesn't know how to do it himself and relies on me to make those types of calls.  If I stocked the pantry with chips, soda and cookies, even though my dh wants to loose weight, he would eat them just because they are there.  


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Old 06-18-2012, 02:54 PM
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I tend to limit treats by asking for good/actual food to be eaten as well. So, you just had a lollipop, your next snack should be an apple/piece of cheese/banana, carrots. I don't tie treats to behavior either. DD is pretty free to have them as she wishes, as long as she is also eating stuff that is not junk. I don't keep much in the house most of the time, and try to home bake cookies and treats like that.

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Old 06-18-2012, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by cat13 View Post

 

I do have a question for those who don't really regulate treats in your house, yet have children who do not overindulge. Do you think that your family is naturally inclined to self-regulate, or do you think that your outlook on food is what drives their behaviors on food?  I like the idea of not having to regulate treats in my house in the future, but like some other PPs mentioned, I personally cannot self-regulate that well. It is very easy for me to choose healthful foods when I'm shopping, but once things are in my house, I always go for the sweetest, most sugary thing in the house... and lots of it! But, for me growing up, treats were not regulated in my house or used as rewards, so I can't really point to that as my reason for my overindulgence.

I do regulate treats, and I have for a long time.  I never started out wanting to be such a hardass about them, but I just ended up doing it out of frustration as their diets became more and more monotonous in their toddler years.  Now it is something of a routine, and there is some "self-regulating", but since this is in the framework of external rules, rather than an understanding of what the body needs, "self" regulation is not the right term for it.  I am a terrible self-regulator.  Better now that ridding my diet of allergens has given me some practice and motivation-- my allergies include corn and eggs and oats and rice.  Together they eliminate most of my available options.  I am more free with the sugar because to some extent I feel guilty imposing very strict limits if I enjoy indulging.

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Originally Posted by CherryBombMama View Post I highlighted some of your statements-- SweetSilver

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So far, with a 3 year old and almost 2 year old, I personally do not buy or offer them many treats.  To us, treats are ice cream, candy, cookies, cake, muffins that are meant to be desserts, chips or packaged "goodies" (fish crackers, for example.)  Things that might be treats to others but to us are everyday snack essentials are popcorn, graham crackers, sometimes Ritz crackers, fruits of all kinds, muffins with veggies baked in, and Nutella. 

 

I give my kids treats when they behave exceptionally well in a situation that I know would push their limits.   I do not let them run amuck, but fussing and wanting to move freely are expected.  The occasional melt down is expected as well, especially if I know they are hungry.  So when they surprise me like this, I like to surprise them!

 

My in laws hand out cookies and juice like its air.  eyesroll.gif. They used to pass around whole packages of cookies to the boys, with Capri Suns galore, but I've learned to speak up (which is hard for me, since I expected dh would do it since it is his family, but nope) and now MIL knows to ask before giving cookies, and to only give them a hand full.  Those are big steps for her, generally no one questions her.  

 

So, where do we draw the line between treats and everyday snacks and food?  Every house is going to have a different answer for different reasons.  My 7yo dd is allergic to dairy, so they drink a lot of soy milk (loaded with sugar).  Not counted as a treat.  You get the idea.  I feel like my girls get a pretty big load of sugar, juice and carbs even without the addition of ice cream, our go-to sweet.

 

My sister raised two kids with almost no limitations on treats.  They've grown up big and strong and healthy and have almost not taste for sweets whatsoever.  Coincidence?  

 

I was raised in a contrary household, where we were allowed cookies, etc. (by default, being latchkey kids, who could stop us?)  Then my mother would complain that we were eating too much.  Juice was bought grudgingly (expensive) and Kool-aid encouraged as the cheap option.  (For perspective, my mother was divorced with 3 kids for almost 2 years.  Old habits die hard, apparently.)

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I tend to limit treats by asking for good/actual food to be eaten as well. So, you just had a lollipop, your next snack should be an apple/piece of cheese/banana, carrots. I don't tie treats to behavior either. DD is pretty free to have them as she wishes, as long as she is also eating stuff that is not junk. I don't keep much in the house most of the time, and try to home bake cookies and treats like that.

This is what we do.  I have a really hard time with my 5.5yo.  Unless she's in the rare "horsey" mood and wants oats, apples and carrots.  She is very picky.  She has food-sensory issues, especially with smells.  And a sensitive stomach.  I think I need to focus more on the alternating rather than "eating enough of the right foods to earn a sweet" approach.


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Old 06-18-2012, 09:05 PM
 
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We are pretty free w/ the treats b/c I have a huge sweet tooth & b/c we just don't want it to be that big of a deal. Kids are 4 & 2. They will ask for candies and I almost always give it to them. They don't have to earn them, just ask. Turns out, they only ask 1-3 times per day. DD1 is really good at self-regulation wrt food & will often turn down treats that she doesn't really care for. DD2 seems to be following along w/ decent self-reg, but she has a much stronger sweet tooth than dd1 (heehee, she is like me). At Halloween, I talked to dd1, who was three, about only eating food until our bellies say they are full, or you might feel sicky and throw up. She knows what that means and does not want it to happen. She self-regulated w/ her candy perfectly, it was pretty awesome to watch. She was allowed to eat as much as she wanted until it was gone. That was her big learning moment and she has understood since.

 

When I don't want them to eat something, I tell them no. Maybe they already had 10 Hershey Kisses. Maybe it is a third slice of cheese (I regulate that b/c we also use them for sandwiches) or a third slice of butter bread w/ cinnamon & sugar (again, we need the bread for other things, too). AND I then offer multiple suggestions of other foods that we have. They will always pick something else, ONLY if I stick to my guns :) No, I'm not making you nothing but ham sandwiches all day & no you cannot have another giant brownie :) I HOPE my kids stay this way as they age. I do not buy much junk b/c I do not have good self-control & that helps us all a lot. I do remind them, if I've cut them off from something, that they can have it again tomorrow and they trust that.


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Old 06-18-2012, 10:42 PM
 
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My kids are teens and we don't do regular desserts (never did). However, DH  buys granola bars for DD as a treat at least once a month He thinks they're healthy (hah!). DS doesn't like them much.

 

In the summer, we often have fake-sugar soda in the house (Coke zero, mostly).

 

For parties, we do  have treats like chips & ice-cream. On birthdays,  we have ice-cream as well. 

 

We also have seasonal treats - during the Christmas season, we make cookies (mostly to give away, but some to eat). At Chinese New year, we eat a lot more loh-ba-goh (Daikon radish pudding w/ Chinese bacon and sausage) than usual. At Halloween they used to trick-or-treat and get candy. Also in the winter, sometimes I'll make popcorn as a treat.

 

Now that the kids are teens, they sometimes buy themselves what we call "laap-saap" (rubbish - chips, mostly), sometimes a candy bar. They buy it out of their own pocket money when they are going to or returning from school.

 

Oh, and at supper, we still nag and make sure they have some veggies, and sometimes say "No more meat dish until you've had the required amount of veg."

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Old 06-19-2012, 11:44 PM
 
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treats in our house for dd is candy and icecream.

 

i have had to review my philosophy on treats. or what i would have liked dd to have. 

 

we dont have candy at home. sometimes we have icecream in the fridge.

 

however i have not held treats back from dd. even as a toddler. she would get it off and on - mostly skittles and i did not stop her from eating a whole bag because she liked the freedom of knowing she could - but she really couldnt. and she loved sharing with me.

 

at 2 (when i gave up the fight over sweets) she was allowed to eat icecream for bfast coz i knew she'd eat her oatmeal (with no sugar) right afterwards.

 

she started lying over popsicles when she was 3 and it taught me a HUGE lesson. 'mama you know there are times when one is just not enough. you REALLY need another popsicle.' that hit me bang in my stomach. yeah i know that feeling EXACTLY. and so i agreed. 

 

and that's how her journey on self regulation began. 

 

at 5 i would tell her to stop asking my permission if she could eat another piece or not. it was her body. she knew how far to stretch it. she had to decide if she should or not. being a super independent child that strategy really worked for her. (i discovered then if i left the decision upto her - no matter what it was - she was apt to being good than if i made the decision for her).

 

so there are days when she looks what she has eaten for the day and says - nah no more. that's too much sugar. or she'll say i know that's too much sugar but i REALLY feel like one more. 

 

since we are on a VERY tight budget, every special moment we TREAT ourselves. that treat could be anything. but a special moment is always accompanied by a treat. even if that treat is a croissant. 


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Old 06-20-2012, 12:09 AM
 
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I try to limit treats, but not make them forbidden.  It all depends on what we have in the house.  We might go a week or so  with no sugary junk and then I'll make cookies and everyone will have 3 a day for a week.  I've noticed we eat a lot more treats in the summer b/c popsicles and ice cream are delicious when it's 95 outside.  We rarely do juice anymore b/c it's expensive and they whine for that more than cookies.  I try not to tie treats in with meals b/c I don't want the treat to be what you get when you eat your boring food, but if my kids have barely eaten for two meals and want a cookie that's not going to happen.


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Old 06-20-2012, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

she started lying over popsicles when she was 3 and it taught me a HUGE lesson. 'mama you know there are times when one is just not enough. you REALLY need another popsicle.' that hit me bang in my stomach. yeah i know that feeling EXACTLY. and so i agreed. 

 

Oh, that is hilarious!  ROTFLMAO.gif

 

 

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I try to limit treats, but not make them forbidden.  I try not to tie treats in with meals b/c I don't want the treat to be what you get when you eat your boring food, but if my kids have barely eaten for two meals and want a cookie that's not going to happen.

And that is how it starts.  Next thing I knew, I was negotiating treats.  All the time!  Now I'm trying to find my way back out.......


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Old 06-20-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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As Burt Wolfe said:  There are no bad foods or good foods, just inappropriate amounts.

 

We have never restricted ANY food in our home (ds is age 13 and his first non-Mom food was chocolate, at 3 months of age:  he liked it, a lot!).  I love to bake and am an excellent cook and use my talents daily.  As diabetes or weight problems are not an issue for our family, we eat sensibly and well.  We do eat more like Europeans with fresh ingredients, smaller portions and in a relaxed manner, at the dinner table for meals.  Happily, we really do love our veggies on an equal basis as our sweets! 

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Old 06-20-2012, 11:51 AM
 
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Oh, that is hilarious!  ROTFLMAO.gif

And that is how it starts.  Next thing I knew, I was negotiating treats.  All the time!  Now I'm trying to find my way back out.......

When we get to this point I don't even say anything about the uneaten meals.  I turn into the mean mommy who uses b/c I said so as a reason. 


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Old 06-20-2012, 12:51 PM
 
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When we get to this point I don't even say anything about the uneaten meals.  I turn into the mean mommy who uses b/c I said so as a reason. 

See I avoided that because until 5 dd had no self control. so i NEVER had treats in the house EVER. well maybe once in a while had icecream but that was VERY rarely. That was easy to do for ME coz i am not a dessert person - chips and good bread with butter. Oh MY!!!

 

whilst on this subject one time when dd was 7 she got to eat a PINT of icecream instead of lunch (she'd eaten a late breakfast). i dont remember the details of how that happened.

 

and that was the only time we have ever done it. dd STILL talks about that pint of icecream.

 

and SweetSilver what was hilarious to me - was that serious discussion over popsicles (i was dying inside but couldnt let even a smile out, otherwise mayhew would ensure) took care of lying for us. she never lied again... so far. 


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Old 06-21-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Mostly I go for balance over the day/week and appropriate amounts of food. If she wants to eat yogurt and strawberries for one meal, I try to get some grains and veggies in the next meal. As for treats, ones that I don't consider to be junk, if she asks for them I just give her an appropriate amount, she loves yogurt, cheese, pretty much all fruit, carrots, cereal, guacamole, etc.. If she is still hungry, I suggest other food options for variety and/or will give her a small additional portion. For stuff like candy, ice cream, cookies, chips, etc. I try to encourage her to fill up on food her body needs first and then have a treat at the end of the meal. Sometimes I'll give her a very small amount at the beginning and give her more after a meal if she is still interested. For the occasional special occasion, I am more lax but try to make sure she is getting some good foods in there just so she isn't miserable. So for me, I don't mind giving her some treats, but I try to keep the portions small. And I try to provide lots of variety and let her try anything that she isn't allergic to and so far she likes most things. I haven't done any rewards or formal rules, but since she can't get her own food, it is easy for me to dictate portions, but I try to listen and give her more when she wants it while still offering balanced options.

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Old 06-21-2012, 08:26 PM
 
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Yes we limit treats to once a day here. Usually treats here are things like muffins, brownies, cookies... I don't make sugary junk on a regular basis though, usually the really sugary stuff I bake may'be 1-2 times monthly. We limit treats here because my kiddo's would rather eat anything remotely sugary, or chock full of carbs, than go near fruits and veggies if they had the choice.


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Old 06-21-2012, 09:08 PM
 
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When my first two were younger, I'd just offer one small treat a day and supply them with lots of healthy food.  I'd explain why we didn't buy certain foods (detailed explanations, which they seemed to get), but if they really wanted something I'd always try to find a similar item we could feel good about (Sundrops instead of M&Ms, or all-natural gummy bears instead of the kind with artificial stuff).

 

Anyway, as they got older I found myself in some battles with my older son about the lack of veggies and fruits in his diet.  He has had texture issues since he was a toddler and slowly, between the ages of five and seven, began to drop the few whole fruits and veggies he used to eat.  He'll now eat bananas and avacadoes in smoothies, and zucchini and pumpkin and bananas in muffins, and some pureed veggies in casseroles, but not in whole form.  Sometimes I just don't want to do all that work, though.  It's so much easier to hand someone a whole banana than to whip up a banana/avacado/chocolate smoothie.  And I hate cleaning the food processor!

 

My youngesr son just has a really wicked sweet tooth, but he also eats tons of healthy stuff the rest of the time.  My daughter is a super healthy eater for the most part. 

 

Anyway, as we've moved into radical unschooling over the past several months, we've dropped the limits/controls entirely.  The kids now help me shop and select some treats, and if they want something I have reservations about we discuss our feelings and try to find a mutually agreeable solution.  The hardest thing to accept is that the youngest two now like soda, but we buy the small glass bottles and they maybe drink two a week each.  I'm also trying to accept that I may be food-processing fruits and veggies for my oldest son for years to come, but I'm trying to stay grateful that he will eat fruits and veggies at all.  I really don't think he can help the texture thing, and he's become so much more flexible in other areas that it wouldn't surprise me if he is willing to stretch more in this area when he becomes a teen.

 

Lately I'm loving Sandra Dodd's idea of the "monkey platter," which is just a huge plate or tray with several different finger foods.  (Dr. Sears advocates a similar idea for toddlers).  Tonight was hot and I didn't want to cook, so the platter had leftover gnocchi, avacado cubes, baby carrots, peanut butter balls, grapes, and cherries.  The peanut butter balls were sweet, so no one asked for dessert afterward.  My older son ate just the gnocchi and peanut butter balls.

 

I think the three keys to avoiding food battles in our house are:

 

1) Providing the kids with logical explanations about why it's important not to eat too many artificial or processed foods or too much sugar.  They know about diabetes and the fact that some artifical ingredients come from petroleum.  Frankly, that grosses them out.  They also know that obesity is a huge problem in our region, and that being overweight has a negative effect on one's quality of life.

 

2) Buying some treats and not micro-managing their consumption of the treats.  If we have a box of cookies, the three kids may eat it in one sitting.  Or they may not.  But if the overall balance from our shopping trips is healthy, I'm not concerned like I once was.

 

3) Involving them in the list-making and shopping processes.  Having some input is very empowering.

 

4) Encouraging independence.  They can help themselves to snacks anytime, though they know if they don't leave a reasonable amount of cookies/granola bars/blackberries/whatever for the other family members, someone is likely to be angry with them.

 

Sorry for the rambly post. :)

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Old 06-22-2012, 08:56 AM
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We're not too big on sweets but Wyatt loves chocolate so he gets it but in moderation. A square here and there.

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Old 06-22-2012, 10:59 PM
 
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This has been a fluid thing for us over the years.  We started out very strict about this simply because we didn't see any need to introduce sugar foods and drinks when she was a toddler.  When she went to preschool, she was introduced to juice, and we had to adjust to her having that or be THOSE PARENTS.  Still at home, we never bought junk foods.  As she has aged, her access to them through social situations has increased - parties, holiday gatherings (there seems to be at least one a month!), parents who bring treats for everyone to playdates, etc.  So, we've become more lenient.

 

At home, she regulates her own food, getting all her own meals except dinner, and eating throughout the day as she is hungry.  I am pleased with the variation in her diet and the choices that she makes independently.  We still don't keep a lot of treats in the house, though there will occasionally be a half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer.  Treats tend to be things we've baked together.  I do note that when we DO have those items in the house, the desire for them is very strong, and the asking is a bit incessant.  I typically feel that if she has eaten a well balanced meal already that day (or any combinations of food that would add up to a meal if eaten at once), that I don't mind her having the treat.  But I do confess being annoyed that she then wants more and more as the day progresses.  I am of two minds on this.  Is she learning moderation because I'm only allowing the one treat, which is moderate; or, is she not learning moderation because she is not independently making the decision to limit the treat intake?  I rejoice in the moments when she has overindulged and then remarks that she has a tummy ache from eating too many treats, but I don't know that that knowledge would be preemptive if I had a help-yourself policy...
 

From time to time I suggest a treat: "Oooh, I hear the ice cream man.  Let's hop on our bikes and see if we can catch him."  Also, our grocery bakery counter has a free cookie policy, and in the last year or so, I allow that each time we go shopping.

 

From time to time, when I feel like we've been having too many treats (like after Christmas time), I'll declare a moratorium on treats, and we will not have any for several weeks.  That kind of reboots us.

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Old 06-23-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 I am of two minds on this.  Is she learning moderation because I'm only allowing the one treat, which is moderate; or, is she not learning moderation because she is not independently making the decision to limit the treat intake? 

This exactly!


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Old 06-25-2012, 04:32 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, but I got serious about cutting down on sugar a while back because I'm now convinced sugar is the heart of most of our physical problems. ("our" meaning as a society, not our family in particular.) What I decided to do is only have dessert on Sunday, so it's a special treat but we don't have to go completely without it. I also allow the kids to participate in special occasions, like birthday parties or holiday celebrations. But otherwise, I try to restrict sugar to only those times. Occasionally we cheat (I have a horrid sweet tooth which I am trying to master) but overall, we're doing pretty well. We certainly eat less sugar than the average American family, I'm sure. 

 

I don't consider dried fruits "sweets" even though they are very sugary - but my kids don't gorge on them so it's not an issue. Oh yeah - I also got a bunch of xylitol lollipops, and they can have one at night after brushing, so they end the day on a "sweet" note. We also very rarely do juice.

 

Oh yeah - I don't let the kids "earn" treats because I think offering food as a reward sets a really bad precedent.

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Old 06-27-2012, 09:48 PM
 
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I guess I'm more on the end of regulating treats, but I actually feel like my kids get a lot of treats.  They are 5 and 7 and I've definitely gotten more lenient, or given up trying to have as much control anyway, over the years.  My definition of "treats" would definitely include candy (pure sugar, artificial colors, flavors, etc., no nutritional value at all), ice cream, cookies, cake, etc.  But we also divide our breakfast cereal (my 7yo LOVES his cereal in the morning) into more-sweet and less-sweet, and I try to have them not have all servings of cereal in one breakfast be of the sweet kind.  By sweet I don't mean Lucky Charms... I mean a still-healthy cereal that has probably more than 7 grams of sugar per serving. Like sweet granola, or honey-nut something instead of the regular flavor.   But also many days I allow a "bar" when we're out doing errands or something - a granola bar (organic though) which might have chocolate chips in it.... I don't count it as a treat, but on the other hand they are a convenience food, not generally for home, I tell them.  So it's a bit of a treat, but it's not a dessert. But sometimes I make bars, and I make them pretty healthful, using flax in it, or nuts, etc., so I don't mind if they eat a few of those in the day as a snack.  Still they consider it a bit of a treat. I don't tie desserts to behavior -- unless we've discussed having some ice cream after dinner, for instance, but then dinner behavior is really bad.... so I might threaten that I don't think we'll have the dessert...   and, during dinner, I strongly encourage trying/eating some of the veggie, and the chicken or whatever someone might have been avoiding, so we can "call it a good dinner" before we have dessert. 

 

When it comes to crackers and things, I sort of consider plain, non-whole-grain things a treat... so the kids see Ritz as a treat - but they would only see those at a school party or my mom's or something.  I do periodically buy "junk" like the tub o' chocolate cat cookies at Trader Joe's.  After breaking it open there in the store for them, I usually serve them at home as little peanut butter (Teddie) sandwiches though, for snacktime after school.   So that's a treat, to me.  But I also don't want them to just eat a million (whole/multi grain) crackers either.  So if they're having too many, I tell them to put them away and have a different category of food, a fruit, a protein, a carrot (our go-to veggie that they'll snack on!).  At the same time, I suspect some food sensitivites in my older son, like dairy and gluten, that I think cause stomach problems and possibly behavior issues, so I try to steer him away from too much bread/cheese/crackers.  I plan to have him tested soon for allergies, so I don't have to be so wishy-washy in my monitoring that.  But more at more, at 7 years old, I'm letting him go get whatever he knows how from the fridge, and let him make his own decision about what his stomach can handle. And he's insisting on it more.  He's pretty good at self-monitoring.

 

Candy..... only comes from "special" events, which seem to be constant!  Birthday party goody bag, holidays at school, trick-or-treating, barbershop visits!  I used to say no to the barber visit candy, since it's only there to encourage kids to tolerate their hair being cut, right?  And my kids never minded the haircuts, so why the candy? But I stopped refusing, the barber lady would always seem like she thought I was so mean to say no to the candy.  And my husband lets them have it when he takes them...  So, anyway, when they end up with a small stash of candy of their own, I let them go through it pretty fast, since I just want it gone.  They tend to dole out just a few to themselves a day for that on their own anyway. And I do have a not-at-breakfast-time rule. I think it's good to have SOME rule around it.

 

Guess I sound like a treat nazi!  Do I?  I actually think I let them have too much lately.  I'm getting lazy, and they're getting older.  They are very active, very fit, very healthy, no cavities, good about tooth-brushing. I'm not really worried.

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