herald

Friday 27 April 2018

No sugar-coating it, I'm a sweetie swiper

Jillian Bolger
Jillian Bolger

HALLOWEEN may be over, but it's left a legacy in our house in the guise of 2.5kgs of sugar. Yes, in the interests of research, I weighed the trick-or-treat bags my three kids returned home with last Thursday and am shocked to report the bounty within.

We visited about 15 houses in our neighbourhood before I called it a night.

Despite inhaling more sweets, sugar and chocolate than they'd generally see in a month, my little witch, skeleton and vampire collapsed with exhaustion and were out as soon as their heads hit their pillows. I'd been expecting a long night of restlessness and bouncing off the walls in a sugar-fuelled stupor, but the combination of a late night and excited anticipation had worn them out.

As soon as they crashed out, my husband and I rifled through their bags and cherry-picked our favourite treats (if you're tut-tutting and judging me now, you're a better parent than me – surely we can't be the only mum and dad who do this?).

Aside from the fact that my husband and I love snacks, we're impressively reserved in our consumption of them. The truth is, we have zero self-control around sugar.

I'm the worst offender by far and have been known on occasion to break open a bar of cooking chocolate in an attempt to feed my sugar cravings. My husband, on the other hand, is rather more restrained, bar his one weakness – Fruit Shorties.

So, despite the fact that my children love sweet treats as much as the next kid, we're pretty strict about when they get them.

Last year, the Halloween spoils lasted well into the new year before they were forgotten about and the thrown out.

There may be a healthy-eating rule in the school, but it seems that plenty of parents regularly flaunt this – lunchbox snacks comprise berries and grapes in our house, and there have never been any complaints.

The kids can eat what they want when visiting friends and grandparents, but when we're at home we try to be sensible.

Sensible means policing their juice intake too – allowing only a single glass a day at breakfast – something many parents don't think about. Cordial, smoothies and breakfast juice do as much damage to teeth as sweets and chocolate.

ASTONISHED

Last Friday, we took our kids to the dentist – visit number two for the seven-year-old and maiden visit for the smaller two. As someone whose teeth have had more work done than Joan Rivers' face, I was worried they, too, may face a life of fillings and drillings (we may all brush twice a day, but any parent knows it's hard to do a great cleaning job on impatient little people's gnashers).

Turns out all three have excellent teeth, with our new dentist observing the fact that they clearly eat a healthy diet. I was astonished and delighted that he knew by looking into their mouths that they didn't consume junk regularly.

I don't believe for one minute that my children are deprived, although you, reading this, may disagree. I want happy kids as much as the next parent, but as long as I'm chief cook and bottle-washer, I'm sticking to our sugar-light recipe.

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