Let's Talk About Treats – How Many Is Too Many?

"I was an over-weight child and teenager and I developed the habit of secret eating and comfort eating from a young age."

The way my child eats is something that has always been really important to me. I was an over-weight child and teenager and I developed the habit of secret eating and comfort eating from a young age. It later developed in to, what I would call, full blown food addiction. It was the feeling of being an addict and food was my drug of choice. Funnily enough my mother was always a great cook and gave us healthy home-cooked meals but I seemed to develop a really unhealthy attitude to food from an early age whereas my other four siblings didn't. 
As a result of this I find myself really wanting my son to grow up with a healthy relationship to food. I don't want to be too easy going about treats but I also don't want to be too strict either. I want him to have balance. To enjoy vegetables and savoury dinners as well as the inevitable treats. 
We did a combination of spoon feeding with purées and baby led weaning when he got a little older. Like many children he started off great and then got a little bit fussier as he hit toddler hood. Everyone tells me he is a great eater though and I'll take that. My reply is usually something along the lines of telling people that he is a bad sleeper so I had to get something. 
He is good though. He eats plenty of fruit, will eat most vegetables (sometimes blitzed, or invisible in dishes, sometimes perked up with some cheese or sauce etc) and has a great appetite. 
I find myself being stricter about certain things over others though.  I don't really buy him jellies but I'd have no problem with him having a couple of chocolate buttons or a small bar of chocolate. Strange, because I know it's all sugar either way. I don't like him having processed jars of sauces and make everything from scratch, yet I am fine with the fact that he doesn't drink water and will only drink no added sugar squash. I'd prefer water but have learned to accept the squash.
Then comes the issue of treats. I used to be much stricter about them but have started to relax a bit as he is constantly exposed to and surrounded by them. I don't want him to be obsessed with treats and lose his mind when he sees them. So every single day, on some level or another, he has a little treat. I am more surprised than anyone that I have actually grown to be really comfortable with this. If he has had a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. If he has eaten plenty of fruit that day, had vegetables in his dinner (I'll know in advance if it is something he will eat) AND if the treat happens in the early part of the day nowhere near bed-time then I really am OK with it. 
I enjoy a treat every day. I've lost four stone in the last 16 months and am at a stage where I can sit down in the evening with a cup of tea and a small bar and be satisfied. I look forward to the little treat all day. I've accepted that treats are a very normal part of our lives and current times. For that reason I decided to loosen up about them and allow a small one most days. Overall his diet is 80% healthy and that is good enough for me. He snacks on things like fruit, raisins, rice cakes & banana and oat muffins. Some have sugar, some don't but overall I am very happy with the way he eats. 
How often do your children get treats? 
Written by Tracey, mummy blogger and staff writer at www.familyfriendlyhq.ie.
Check out her own blog at www.loveofliving.ie


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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