I don't understand the obsession with pumping children fully of sugar, but people seem to love to do it. Fortunately most of my friends and family know that I'm uptight with what I let Hannah eat and they'll either ask before giving her something or just not even bother giving it to her. Most people pick on me about it though, joking that they're gonna give Hannah cookie. I laugh in an attempt to take the joke, but it's an uncomfortable laugh because I KNOW how people are and I know that even though they're kidding, they're still dying to be the one who turns Hannah on to the world of sugar. Is it just our culture that uses sugar to buy our way into the hearts of children or does the whole world have this obsession?
Lest you think I'm just another crazily over-protective mama, you should know that I was crazy way before I was an over-protective mama. Back when I was a full-time babysitter, I was stricter than the parents with when (not before lunch and only then if all vegetables were eaten) and how much (no more than 1-2 cookies PER DAY) sugar the boys could have. I cringed when the dad would stop in mid-morning for an early lunch and pass out oatmeal cookies to the boys. I was so strict with them about eating healthy that the mom once told me that during difficult dinners she would threaten to "get Terri over here" and that would be enough to make them shape up and eat. I think I should take this moment to clarify that although I am a member of the clean plate club, I recognize that it's not a healthy club to be a part of, and I do not require the children in my care to be members of this club in order to get dessert. Still, I can't help thinking that if you're too full to eat your peas, then you're too full to eat ice cream. When peas are constantly pushed aside for ice cream, the end result is picky eaters, and there is little that annoys me more than a picky eater, so I vowed a long time ago that I would do everything in my power to make sure my future kid was not a picky eater. (There's an article in the current issue of Psychology Today that says that there are some picky eaters who can't control and who are picky in spite of parents who were strict with food. Suffice it to say that I mean no disrespect to anyone in that category.)
My guiding principle has been that if the food has little to no nutritional value, there is no reason for Hannah to eat it. Empty calories take up valuable space in tiny tummies and prevent the good stuff from getting in there. But more than that, sugar is incredibly addictive. I know because I've been addicted pretty much since I got pregnant. For a long time prior to that I wasn't in to sugar at all because I had sensitive teeth and it just made them hurt and after a while, I stopped craving sugar all together. Your taste buds adjust (The article mentioned above explained this concept so I know it's not just me who has experienced adjusting taste buds). The main reason I've avoided giving Hannah sugar is because I know how easy it is to get addicted, and I want Hannah to have a chance to develop a taste for vegetables first
Hmmm....I've gone on a bigger rant than I expected. The reason I logged on tonight was to tell you that lately I've found myself inching up to the outer edge of the mass of people eager to give Hannah a taste of something sweet. Since I'm not willing to compromise my principles just yet, I went hunting for a healthy cookie recipe, and found an awesome one! These yummy Carrot Oatmeal Cookies are probably the healthiest I've ever seen (if you've seen healthier or equally as healthy, please share!), and I wanted to share them with you in case you're looking for a yummy healthy cookie recipe for your own munchkins. The only sweetener in these cookies is 1/2 cup of maple syrup which is considerably less than most recipes. The rest of the cookie is whole wheat flour, carrots, and oats. I made them tonight and added 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut, and they turned out awesome. I can't wait to give one to Hannah tomorrow (afternoon)!