Welcome to Baby Talk!
Firstly, I wanted to say how excited I am to be a columnist on Green Queen! I love this blog and I think it is a much-needed resource. I think most of us want to be greener, especially once we become moms, and we all need some help and direction. I hope you will enjoy my columns as much as I will enjoy writing them.
Halloween is coming up in a couple of days so I thought it appropriate to write my first column about sugar. It’s all around us, especially on October 31st!
I grew up in the USA and while I don’t adhere to everything that’s “made in America,” Americans do win hands down when it comes to celebrating holidays. Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween! You name it and they know how to celebrate it! I get quite nostalgic thinking about my daughter growing up in Hong Kong and not being able to dress up, go trick or treating and eat lots of candy the American way. Then I snap back into mother mode and realize that over the years, I’ve actually grown more afraid of Halloween candy then of the scary costumes.
Let’s be realistic, if I don’t want my child to grow up despising me- and since I myself must confess that I have quite the sweet tooth- I have to find ways to make Halloween happen without too much sugar. Don’t get me wrong, we do need sugar from things like fruits and vegetables, but not from all the foods in which sugar is added nowadays, ie. almost EVERYTHING. How much is too much? In a perfect world we would eat VERY LITTLE added sugar. Our bodies don’t need the kind and amount of sugar that is added to food. But since life is far from perfect, the best I can do for my family is to limit, substitute, and plan ahead.
- Limit: Our home is almost free of items with added sugar. It is a safe zone. My child is free to eat what she wants because I have carefully and lovingly stocked it with “grow foods” Simply preparing food yourself, eating mostly at home and pre-packing snacks or lunches for school is the best way to cut down on excess sugar.
- Substitute: To satisfy my daughter’s sweet tooth, I use natural sweeteners like Xylitol, stevia, agave nectar, and raw honey. We use these in our baking, cooking and to add to things like oatmeal and smoothies. You can also buy a variety of candies, chocolate and condiments made with these alternative sweeteners. It may take awhile to get used to, but slowly introducing these alternatives can make a big health difference. Fruit can also sweeten baked goods, like using banana to in blueberry muffins.
- Plan Ahead: I try to keep some healthy treat alternatives handy (in my bag and in the kitchen cupboards) so that I have something to offer my daughter if an alternative is needed. I don’t want her to feel deprived. I want her to feel cared for. But I also don’t sweat an occasional indulgence.
A few more ways to avoid the Halloween candy overload:
- -Buy your child’s candy back from them… at say 20HKD per pound? That way, they still have the fun of collecting loot.
- -Swap the candy with ‘The Great Pumpkin’. Have your child pick out 5 pre-approved pieces of candy out of their loot. Get them to leave the rest outside their bedroom door before they go to bed. Then once they are in bed, The Great Pumpkin comes and swaps it the candy for something awesome, fun and/or delicious; that way,the kids don’t miss the candy.
Happy HalloGreen Everyone!