Thursday, March 4, 2010

Banning treats

It seems that banning treats altogether, or imposing miserly restrictions is more likely to create a greater desire for them... and not just in children.

We have all started diets thinking that the easiest way to lose weight is to exclude certain foods. This is a fallacy. No food groups - even sugars and fats - should be totally excluded. They each have their place in a healthy eating plan. If we ban all the sweet stuff entirely, we just feel deprived and depressed. We need to take control and limit quantities.

Our efforts to improve family health and lifestyle can succeed. We have to realise that no improvement comes without effort. So, for a start, we can buy fewer treats when we do the grocery shopping. Decide, before you leave home, which treats you are going to buy, and in what quantities. To decide what quantities to buy, you have to designate treat times, of course. And once back from shopping, we can keep those treats in their very own container, on a high shelf. Out of sight, out of mind. The treats that come in a strip or bag of individually wrapped portions are a great aid to self control.

How often should we serve treats? Certainly no more than once a day.  Give children their own choice of treat from the available selection, and let them decide when they want to eat it. Maybe after supper is a good time, or they might want to include it in tomorrow's lunchbox. But... once the day's treat is gone, it is gone. And that applies to adults, too. One rule for everyone in the family.

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