Cookies Aren’t Snacks

September 7th, 2011

I got an email from a parenting site I subscribe to that promised to deliver ideas for “22 Healthy Kids Snacks.”  Of the twenty-two “snacks,” eight were sweets.  A few of these eight recipes attempted to be healthy (like the beets in the whoopie pies recipe) but the rest?  Frosted sugar cookies.  Peanut butter cookies.  Jello made with sweetened condensed milk.  “Oatmeal Snack Cakes.”  Nice try at disguising oatmeal cookies, but the presence of whole-wheat flour can’t counteract the fact that the first four ingredients were fats and sugars.

Does this look like a “Healthy Kids Snack” to you?

I sometimes run into this same problem at the kids’ daycare.  Miss Mouse came home chirping about the rice krispie treats she had for snack last week.  “Oh?” — I inquired brightly — “Was it someone’s birthday?”  Nope. That was just the snack offering on a nondescript, non-holiday Tuesday.  Once when she was still in the infant room sometime prior to her first birthday, they served Mrs. Fields Sugar Cookies for snack.  No joke.  (I called the Director to rant about that one and it didn’t happen again.)

Look, I’m not opposed to sugar.  I happen to have an intimate and loving relationship with sugar.  Chocolate too, come to think of it.

But childhood obesity is real.  It’s a huge problem (no pun intended) and, as parents, we are doing our children a terrible disservice when we allow them to gorge themselves on junk.  

Cookies aren’t snacks.  They are dessert and should be treated as such.

Do I serve dessert at home?  Sure.  Do I let the kids eat sweets?  Of course.  I refer you to the previous post about apple crisp.  But dessert is a treat.  We don’t serve apple crisp every night.  We don’t keep cookies on hand.  And when Miss Mouse comes home demanding “a little snack” we try to limit her options to fruits and vegetables.

Not chocolate banana quesadillas, fried in butter and dusted with powdered sugar (though I admit that sounds divine).

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