BALANCING SUGAR AND REALITY AT SCHOOL PARTIES

THE CHILDHOOD SUGAR BALANCE

Growing up, I loved any excuse to celebrate and eat cake, cookies, cupcakes, etc. etc. etc. Since transitioning to a real food lifestyle, it is the one thing that I have missed the most. Over the last few years, I have discovered a few dessert recipes that fill that void and make me feel like I am not missing out. It’s different though. I know what oreo’s taste like. I’ve had a hostess cupcake, and I drank juice through a twizzler straw (anyone else out there who loved to bite the ends off then use it as a straw?)

When we explain our lifestyle to people, the first question they ask is ‘what are you going to do when your son is at a birthday party? Are you going to let him eat the pizza and cake? It sometimes amazes me that people actually think I would prevent my child from experiencing childhood. I want my child to grow up learning proper nutrition and eating foods that are real and unprocessed. I also want him to know just how wonderful a real piece of birthday cake tastes with a giant scoop of ice cream on top. Despite how I come across sometimes, I am realistic. I know that there will come a day where my child gets to make his own food choices and he chooses something I wouldn’t serve at home. That is a part of growing up. 

CHEAT DAYS GONE WILD

When we first started eating clean, we would focus on real food Monday through Friday. Saturday morning, we would go to Kroger and purchase anything and everything we wanted to eat. This included cake, cookies, ice cream, frozen pizza, chips, donuts and whatever else we could think up. After about 2 months of this charade, we stopped. We were spending Saturday gorging ourselves on junk; Sunday was spent on the sofa because we were too lethargic to move, and the rest of the week was spent resetting our gut in preparation for the weekend’s shenanigans. At the rate we were going, we were better off with our old eating habits of a standard American diet.

These days, we cheat one night a week. Instead of raiding the candy aisle at the store, our cheats are typically clean in ingredients but are outside of our normal eating plan. This includes things like pizza night using cassava flour crust and sheep’s milk cheese or goat milk ice cream with dark chocolate chips on top. They are still cheats, but they don’t make us feel awful the next day. We involve our son in our cheats and have since he was old enough to digest the foods. For the first year or so, we were pretty strict with the type of cheats he was allowed. I still don’t understand why it’s necessary for a one year old to have a sugar rush. No, we did not get him a cake for his first birthday. No, he did not miss it.

SCHOOL PARTIES – A CELEBRATION FOR EVERY HOLIDAY

School holiday parties are difficult for me to handle. It seems there is a party for every holiday, big and small. Each party includes some fruit but main components are cookies, cupcakes, chips, etc. While I am not going to be a party pooper, it baffles me that we are teaching our young ones such poor eating habits. I understand that I sound a little bit like a hypocrite. After all, a few paragraphs ago, I said I would let my child experience childhood, and I will. I seriously struggle with this one. While I don’t want him sharing in the junk, I also don’t want to prevent him from having fun with his friends.

I have come to this conclusion: my son is going to eat the junk. I cannot keep him from enjoying the treats that I ate as a kid. That would really make me a hypocrite. I must find peace knowing that 90% of the time, he is eating food that is nutrient dense and made of real, fresh ingredients. Until that changes, I don’t have a problem.

THE SUGAR VS REAL FOOD BALANCE

Will I be bringing him a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free cupcake to his friend’s birthday parties? Not a chance. I don’t have the time nor do I want him to feel left out. If he had actual food allergies, I may be singing a different tune. Will I be serving processed, sugar and dairy dosed cupcakes at my son’s birthday parties? Not a chance. I will use this as an opportunity to show that the less processed alternates can be just as good.

As a side note, if anyone told the younger version of me that I would lose sleep over the thought of my child eating a cupcake, I would have laughed until smile lines formed. It’s amazing what learning the importance of nutrition can do to you.

How do you handle parties? Do your little ones have allergies that keep them from partaking in the birthday party treats? If so, how do you handle this?