Everything that is wrong with the nutrition mindset can be summed up in two words: WhoNu? cookies.
When did everything we eat have to be nutritious? And why can't cookies just be cookies? The answer has got to be when we started feeling guilty about the way we eat. The problem is, that instead of making things better, cookies that are souped-up on steroids only make things worse.
Give your kids cookies with added nutrients because you worry they aren't getting the nutrition they need from "real" foods and you'll train their taste buds away from "real" foods—the first ingredient in the chocolate cookies is sugar. Then you'll have to give your kids cookies with added nutrients to make sure they get the right nutrition. It's a vicious cycle. (Never mind the fact that adding nutrients is a form of Manufacturing Magic and it doesn't make a food nutritious.)
Just as importantly, give your kids cookies with added nutrients and you won't be teaching your kids to enjoy their treats guilt-free.
As far as I can tell, there is only one reason to serve kids these cookies: guilt.
- We feel guilty that our kids don't eat enough healthy food to get the nutrients they need.
- We feel guilty that our kids eat too many cookies —and other sweets and treats.
In fact, the manufacturer plays to parental guilt, "Our cookies are intended to replace other cookies or indulgent snacks that offer no nutritional value..."
I, for one, believe we should teach kids to eat indulgent snacks, to enjoy them, to savor them, to revel in them! That's what treats are for. And really, no matter what you do to a cookie, it's still a cookie.
Remember, it doesn't matter what your kids eat. What matters is how often they eat it.
Ironically, it's easier to teach kids to eat right when you give them indulgent treats.
When you blur the boundaries between healthy food and treats, it's hard to:
- Convince your kids to limit their intake of treats.
- Teach your kids the importance of eating healthy foods.
After all, when the cookies deliver as much iron as a cup of spinach, why should your kids eat the actual spinach? Give your kids Oreo cookies, however, and the difference is clear.
Eating cookies for their nutritional value promotes the idea that there are "good" foods and there are "bad" foods and teaches your kids to feel guilty when they eat the "wrong" things.
You'd be better off teaching your kids:
- To eat foods in proportion to their healthful benefits
- That adding nutrients to a food doesn't make it nutritious
- That indulging in treats is a good thing—as long as it's done in moderation.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~