Taming the Sugar Monster

I just lost my temper with my son.

Exercising my new grocery shopping habits (Let's Talk Turkey Blog), I purchased ten snack-size Three Musketeers candy bars for one dollar! I selected those candy bars especially because they are one of my daughter’s favorites. She’d had a particularly rough week, and I wanted to do something special for her.

After dinner I noticed her searching the cupboards for dessert and suggested she might like a Three Musketeers bar.

“There aren’t any Three Musketeers bars in here, mom.”
“Yeah, there are!” my son piped up. “I saw them.”
“Well, they’re not here now,” she replied.
I intervened. “What are you talking about, I just bought them this afternoon.”

Assuming she simply wasn’t looking hard enough, I began digging through the treat bowl we keep in the cupboard.

I dug deeper.

I dumped the entire contents of the bowl onto the kitchen counter.

No candy bars!

I looked at my son in astonishment. “You ate TEN candy bars!”

“No, I didn’t eat ten! No way did I eat ten!” He said, eyes wide.

But sure enough, he did. That boy came home from school and ate TEN Three Musketeers bars for his healthy after-school snack.

I exploded. What was he doing to his growing body! How could he choose garbage as his source of nutrition when he was feeling hungry after school! I ranted about how it wasn’t helping his muscles grow, how it wasn’t doing anything positive for his body at all. By the time I was done, he was in tears, and I was frustrated.

As he stormed off to be alone, I thought about the whole sugar issue. See, I think I got so angry because I know exactly where he got that Sugar Monster that lives inside of him. He got it from me. It’s hereditary. It’s in our genes.

The entire reason we even have a “treat bowl” is because of me and the way I grew up.

As a child, my parents were um…how shall I put this— health freaks, really. They made their own yogurt, we ate granola, and multi-grain bread that weighed as much as we did; and the only occasions we had candy in the house were Halloween and Easter.

When I went away to college, woo hoo! I lived on candy and junk food for about a year before I finally figured out I actually didn’t feel so good filling my body up with so much junk on a daily basis.

After I got married and we had children, I suggested to my husband, (who actually prefers a plate of vegetables to dessert—can you even believe that!) that perhaps we should have candy and cookies available for our children to eat in moderation. Then maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal to them, and maybe they wouldn’t become as obsessed as I had been.

This worked well with our daughter. She can take it or leave it. But our son…well, yep. It was fine when they were little and I totally controlled the amount they ate. But as they’ve gotten older, and I’ve gotten busier, the treat bowl seems to disappear faster and faster.

You know, God didn’t have to make sugar. He didn’t have to make flavors at all. He could have made a bunch of mush for us to eat and we’d never have known the difference. But instead, he made such a wonderful variety of foods in different textures and flavors: sour to sweet, spicy to bland, buttery, juicy, fruity. All these amazing sensations for us to enjoy. He did it because he loves us, and wants us to be able to enjoy food as well as take nourishment from it.

But for my son (as it was for me), the key is self-control and learning to tame the Sugar Monster. He’s a good kid. I’m sure he’ll eventually succeed. But in the meantime, maybe I’ll stop filling the treat bowl quite so often. Start leaving sliced fruit, cheese and whole-grain crackers out for him to nibble on. (Oh my gosh, I sound like my MOTHER! :) Live and learn, right.

Anybody have some healthy EASY after-school snack suggestions?


Ruth Davis said...

Hi Holly,
One suggestion, you might want to try dried fruit as a snack for the kids. It's sweet and has some nutritional benefits. Get it from the health food store; the kind that isn't loaded with extra sugar. Smiles.
Love, Mom

MJRimmer said...

Hi Holly,

That was great. You made my day with your comments on sugar which I heretofore believed was created by Satan's minions!