After Jacob's lovely haul of Easter candy this weekend, I've been finding myself a bit perplexed about it. And quite frankly, I've been finding myself perplexed about a lot of snack foods for Jacob's entire solid food experience. Maybe it's just because I'm a working mom and don't get a heck of a lot of time with him on weekdays...and weekends are a crap shoot because we never have the same schedule twice. But I honestly have a hard time finding a good time to give him snacks...particularly super-sugary chocolate ones. If I happen to have a chance to give him a formal snack (meaning, not one that's stuck in a plastic snack cup while we're out and about), I'd prefer it to be a good one...or at least one that might fill him up for more than a few minutes or at least has some nutritional value to it, like crackers, fruit, or cheese. Even though I will easily do it for myself, I have a hard time giving Jacob chocolate for a snack. When he first started eating solids, I did everything in my power to keep things relatively healthy. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, real butter, plain cereals, organic yogurt, and very few processed foods (and if they were, I tried to stay away from stuff like nitrates that you find in regular hot dogs and lunch meats). Then he got old enough for some of the Gerber snacks and he started liking french fries and things got a little looser. Then he got old enough for things like birthday cake with frosting and ice cream, and then he got enough teeth for things like cookies. The lines start to blur and suddenly you're feeding your kid chicken nuggets, pizza, and mac and cheese at every turn! Oops. So much for keeping my perfect little baby's perfect little body free of garbage!
Luckily (?!), Jacob is a skinny kid so I'm less concerned about his calorie and fat intake than I would be if he was a chubby kid. But still, I still have a hard time giving him stuff full of empty calories. I still cringe just a bit each morning when Craig gives Jacob a few pieces of his morning cereal. Lately Craig's been requesting Lucky Charms for his cereal, and while I don't mind Jacob having a few of the sugar coated oat bits, the marshmallows make me extra nervous. I just don't want him getting too into the sugary stuff, to the point that he doesn't want the healthy stuff (Cheerios, Chex) anymore. At home he gets juice once in a while, and I know he gets it about once a day at daycare, but when he's been asking for it by name lately, I get a little more nervous that he's getting addicted to sugar. He still loves water, and I want to keep it that way!
So now I look at the chocolate and jellybeans on the counter and wonder when I should give it to him. I'm only with him for 2-3 hours in the evenings, and the first part is before dinner (no snacking!), the second part is during dinner, and the last part is pre-bedtime (i.e., not the time for sugar). And while it would be logical to give him some chocolate for dessert, he's usually so ready to be out of his highchair that he wouldn't want to keep sitting there, even for chocolate. And I sure as heck am not letting him eat chocolate elsewhere in the house, particularly now that we have off-white berber carpets everywhere!
So, between the guilt, time constraints, and a dislike for chocolate-stained anything, I'm stumped. We have all of this perfectly yummy chocolate sitting around that I know I should share with my child (guiltless chocolate eating is one of the best parts of childhood, after all), and I just don't know how! One piece at a time, I guess!