Treating snack time with a little pomp and circumstance as I ease away from sugar habits.

It is so easy to get in the habit of rewarding kids with sugar. We find ourselves taking away treats as punishment, offering M&Ms as a reward to go pee pee on the potty, and celebrating big occasions with sweets and desserts. During that past few years, my own love of desserts and baking has been a challenge as I’ve tried to diet and lose my leftover baby weight. I’ve been working hard to break my emotional bond to baked goods but my rational brain turns to mush around donuts, croissants and cookies.

In actuality, we have pretty balanced diets. It’s not as if we are eating tons of sweets every day. But, as I’ve been analyzing our habits around sugar, I am bothered by its tie to emotions, particularly around the idea of rewarding myself or the kids with it. So, I’ve been trying to come up with treats that aren’t filled with sugar but that feel equally as exciting to enjoy.

Presentation of foods and drinks makes a big difference. My girls love playing tea party so I took a few cues from the tea party set up and served their snack on a tray the other day. We’ve also devised a some milk drinks that have no sugar or sweetener added. With just a few drops of vanilla or almond extract and a sprinkling of cinnamon, milk becomes a special offering!

The girls now ask for “cinnamon milk” in the same voice they use when they are trying to con me into giving them something sugary. So, my plan must be working! I am putting things that aren’t as bad for them in a new “treat realm” with a few fancier serving pieces and by making up names that I announce in my most “convincing” voice.

Would anyone here like to have a Cinnamon Vanilla Milk Drink made especially for them, served in a pink cup on a fancy tray?  

me! me! me! yes, please!

You may be shaking your head at me as you notice the processed, store bought graham cracker in the photo. I have made homemade graham crackers in the past and I know something like apple slices are a better option. But, like I said, I’m not a purist – just working to make changes. Little by little.

Cinnamon Vanilla Milk

Warm milk mixes with the cinnamon better so I often warm milk, add a dash of cinnamon and a few drops of pure vanilla extract and then shake it in a closed container (closed sippy cup or even a jar.) Serve the milk warm or if you want it cold, you can then shake with ice and serve.