Yesterday, Hailey’s hour of quiet time was cut short (I’m noticing a theme here) by our delay in getting to bed after lunch. That left me with not much time to make my tea and start organizing my homeschool plan for September before she came bounding down the stairs. I knew I could send her to play in the playroom solo or to “read” books on the couch, but I had an itch for some quality time so I asked her what she wanted to make in the kitchen. I said we could make anything she wanted.
Her first answer was yogurt (bless it). After googling it and finding we did not have the necessary ingredients, she switched her answer to broccoli. Cute kid. I urged her to really go big here- anything you want. Her eyes got a curious sparkle in them before she answered chocolate cake?
Since I talk a lot of healthy eating for kids, I’ve received quite a few questions about how often my kids eat treats. I guess my answer would be occasionally. When we are in social settings with treats, the girls are welcome to them. When we bake cookies or make ice cream, everyone indulges. We’ll also grab the occasional ice cream out, but for the most part, I follow the advice of one of my favorite healthy eating mantras —
I’m not one for following rules when it comes to food. I know I’ve said it once (or a million times), but restriction and I don’t get along very well long term. Though I’ll eat paleo for a few days in a row, I never label it because by day 4, I’m sprinkling cheese on our homemade pizza. It’s my version of balance. Still, there are a couple healthy eating guidelines I keep in my head that just make good sense to me. One is Michael Pollan’s eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. I guess that’s three, but oh well. The other “food rule” I follow is also from my guru (I will always suggest people read his book!):
Eat any junk food you want, as long as you make it yourself.
There is such stigma against junk food. I have nothing against eating French fries, cakes, and other high-fat/high-calorie food. The problem is that the food industry has made these labor-intensive foods so readily available that they have switched from being occasional foods to everyday foods. Not only that, but the big food companies have gotten proficient at making food with excessive fat, salt, and sugar to excite our taste buds. Additionally, they use additives and chemicals that you would not find in your own pantry to further draw us in and hook us.
By following this “rule,” you are ridding yourself of restrictions beyond your own time and effort. It’s incredibly freeing and fairly self-regulating.
For example, I love fried hash browns. Think Waffle House style- mmm. But for me to enjoy these at home, it would take washing and peeling the potato, shredding it, and then frying it in oil (which would inevitably splatter my entire stove and counter top leading to a decent clean up). Though I might do this on a Saturday morning, it’s doubtful I’d make them everyday. It just takes too much effort.
Like yesterday’s chocolate cake. I think it ended up taking Hailey and me a good three hours, start to finish, from pulling out the ingredients to making the chocolate fudge frosting.
Please notice the toddler finger grab in the above cake.
The whole family really enjoyed their bowl licking and cake eating. I’m so glad, because a three hour cake baking session certainly isn’t going to be an everyday occurrence around here!
I certainly do not follow this advice to a T. However, it is one of those nuggets of wisdom I use to keep an eye on my overall eating habits. Now, if only I could be so bold as to apply it to my love of chips and salsa. I think I see homemade tortilla chips in my future!
For more of my favorite healthy eating tips, click here!
Do you follow any healthy eating mantras?
What is your favorite “junk food” to make yourself?
For more of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, click here.