We Survived the Test

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With careful planning, you can substitute healthy treats for junk food at kids' parties.We had our biggest challenge this afternoon in our commitment to eat only real food for 10 days.

We attended a 2½ hour Boy Scout event where parents brought various treats for the children and pizza was sold for $1 a slice. After yesterday’s snow cone incident, I was resigned to the fact that the kids might not have it in them to resist these sugary temptations. We talked to them before the event, making several things clear:

  1. It would be their decision about whether they wanted to eat the processed treats that were being served at the event.
  2. We would bring lots and lots of real food treats that they could eat if they wanted to stick to the 10 days of real food challenge. They could eat as many brownies as they wanted. My brownies included ingredients like applesauce, dates, and bananas, and they didn’t have any gluten or dairy in them. I told the kids they could have as many of these brownies as they wanted.
  3. We were bringing popcorn with butter and salt to contribute to the event’s snack table.
  4. We wouldn’t be upset with them if they decided to eat the processed food treats.

Eight brownies, three muffins, one pita pizza, a couple handfuls of popcorn, one fruit leather strip, and two 100% juice boxes later, we survived the test! I was very proud of them. I asked my son if it was hard to avoid the other treats, and he said, “No, I was fine with what you brought. I didn’t really go by the treat table anyway.” There’s something to be said for careful planning.

I hope this experience helps my children to feel empowered. They don’t have to eat junk if they don’t want to, and every time they eat something they are making a decision to eat it. We will be heading back to the birthday party circuit after these 10 days, and I know they’ll eat the cake. But maybe this experience will help them to realize that they don’t feel as good after eating a piece of highly processed birthday cake, and they don’t need to eat the whole piece. More isn’t better when it comes to treats. Good, quality ingredients and a happy stomach trump the excesses of processed desserts any day.

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