Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Total Healthy Tuesday: the Battle of the Bars

After completing 100 Days of Real Food's 10 day pledge last Thursday, I felt great. I had dropped a couple (just two) of pounds, though that was not the intent of this particular endeavor. I am also re-establishing some habits like cooking at home and paying actual attention to food labels--rather than just believing the green-washing. To me, the real take-away was awareness. I plan to make everything as real and fresh as possible when we are at home so that the stuff we have out in the world is balanced against something wholesome. I do plan to allow some "pantry snacks" as my kids call them--you know, something they can grab from the pantry instead of the fridge. My thoughts were to have mandarin oranges in water, organic raisins (we have some old conventional ones to finish first), squeeze apple sauces, nuts, freeze dried fruit, fruit leather, Lara bars, whole wheat pretzels and Baked Kettle Chips (the stuff on the left in this picture).

The trouble was that we had some food items that we had stored away during the pledge. I am not proud to admit that those little purple and blue bars on the right have been my picky eaters go-to breakfast for three years. The first thing she did was go to the box of stored away items and grab those, though I was offering up homemade whole wheat waffles she found delightful only two days before. Side-note: during the pledge I have come to view the bars as the enemy as they epitomize my failings in the food department--they are organic junk food that I allowed to make up a shocking amount of one of my kids' diet. I stood my ground and said she could not have it. There were both foot stomping and actual tears, but she went to school without actually dying from not having the bar.

I spent much of the morning thinking about the conundrum. My daughter is thin and a picky eater. That is why I allowed the bars to sneak into our lives--I really wanted her to eat. This is ironic as I and have been overweight on and off since I was nine, and it never helped when my parents tried to intervene. In fact it made things much worse. I really believe that the only way to address the situation of an overweight child or picky eater is to model good behavior. BUT. I. FAIL. A LOT. I decided that perhaps letting her take some ownership was the way to go.

Luckily, a situation presented itself that very afternoon. School was getting out early and we had plans to hit the movies. WE don't go often, but when we do this is a time we go absolutely off the rails with popcorn, candy and a big diet soda for me (I know, I know) . It is my fault--I love the ritual of concessions at a movie. I just told you I was a fat kid. On this occasion, I decided to bring our own air-popped popcorn lightly salted with pasture-raised organic butter. I also brought one of the now infamous bars. I figure that as a sweet treat, in lieu of candy, it is actually an okay choice. OH MY GAWD--you would think I stuck a hot poker in my child's eye. Now the bar she was begging for in the morning was absolute verboten. Fail number two--second round of the tears and foot stomping. At this point I feel it necessary to say this is an otherwise beautifully behaved child.

Third time is the charm? Fast forward to Sunday when she produced a Zone bar from somewhere deep in the belly of our house. My husband was using them after workouts. When she begged for it as a snack I said yes, but I made her look at the label as well as Google the amount of sugar a child in her age category eats. She learned that the 15 grams of added sugar in the bar are actually over the daily allotment for someone in age and eating bracket. Mind you, I don't care about natural sugars from fruit and dairy. I told her if the rest of the day's food had no other added sugars, she was free to take the bar. She did have to keep in mind that we were eating out that night and taking the bar unequivocally meant no dessert. Given the same choice, her little sister opted not to eat a treat, but the picky eater went for the instant gratification. After a healthy dinner for all, little sis opted to spend her daily allotment (and then some) of added sugar on ice cream (dessert is pretty rare treat on a regular day). The fit hit the shan. Picky eater had (thankfully silent) tears rolling down her face. I did not relent. I did tell her how sorry I was that she was sad and that I was sad too to not have dessert myself--I am still on no added sugar. I Think it may have worked! We shall see...

As for me, I am sticking with whole grains and no added white sugar until I figure out another weight loss program. I hope to have a plan to detail by next week!

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