Conquering Sweets with Natural Sweetness

When I get home every evening the first thing I do is release the baby sitter and start on fixing something to eat for dinner. Yesterday as I was doing this, Martha was playing on the kitchen floor next to me. She was playing with her toy aeroplanes and yes yes yes I know…. despite this being the kitchen, I love her being there because we talk a lot and she always keenly looks to see what I’m doing. That’s how she got to learn about different types of veggies and is able to tell which vegetable is which. As we have a small kitchen I’m careful to avoid accidents as she rolls across the floor or lays spread eagle singing me a bible song from school. I love it.

So yesterday she pipes up and says “…no offense mum” and proceeds to give me some ‘big talk’. I looked at the bigger picture and let out a chuckle under my breath. Here was my 6 year old being assertive because I had finally agreed to give her an éclair – a piece of toffee sweet. I laughed aloud thinking what a clever little girl I’ve got. Her phrasing was correct and with the appropriate tone of voice… hah. My baby is growing up.

I thought about the reason I had held out for so long and only allowed this rare treat. Contrary to our upbringing where sweets were and often are presented as rewards, the regular eating of sweets is a big no-no for all, especially our children. Kids are born with clean slates for taste and we the parents mess it up by teaching them to eat too much sugar and salt. I reminded myself to make a note of the éclair day so that I wouldn’t forget and give Martha another one so soon.

As she loves a drink any time, I think I’ll keep focusing on naturally occurring sweet stuff for Martha. For example, for great snack before dinner, when the kids are busy pulling at your legs and asking you repeatedly “is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Give them a glass of home-made smoothies. Try 1 ripe banana, ½ ripe avocado and a glass of milk and water mix. Blend it all together and don’t add in any sugar. Delicious – very I assure you J I also say no sugar in smoothies as they call for ripe fruit which already has all the sugar we need. So the sweet-tooth mum must hold back on adding sugar. Small word of caution though – If you give a heavy snack before dinner then your child will be full and won’t eat dinner properly. Light drinks and fruit for snacks are great as they are quickly absorbed.

So all you Mamas and Papas out there enjoy your little one’s company (and yes you are allowed to also sip on their pre-dinner smoothies) – they are the reason we learn something new every day…..

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