I know it sounds strange to be touting the benefits of candy, but we did have a positive moment with it recently, my son and I that is. He was taking a lunchtime elective at school called “Sweet Treats” where a few parents taught the kids how to make sweet recipes. They weren’t for the most part too terrible-there were smoothies and other fruit-related recipes, but one day they taught the kids to make “candy sushi,” which was about as bad as it gets. The kids took fruit roll-ups (hardly fruit), smooshed a rice krispie treat all over it, added some gummy worms and rolled it up, cut it sushi-roll style and added a Swedish fish atop each piece for good measure.
When he came home with this dish, I was at first horrified. Of course he had to have a piece for dessert after dinner and proudly paraded it around the house. The next day, I had a pastry chef in my home for a photo shoot and he insisted we go to the store so he could buy the ingredients to make her his candy sushi. I indulged him as I was curious to see how far he would take his project and he did something that really impressed me. Confidently, he called her next to him and he made the sushi, step by step, then presented it on a plate complete with chopsticks alongside. She was delighted.
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I decided to try using this example to set him on a path of preparing other dishes for people and relishing in their joy at his creations. The candy sushi thing worked because it was easy for him and of course fun to play with candy, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t take it to another level-away from the junk food and into other categories. The next day I had him make us all lunch, where he assembled sandwiches and pretzels for each person in the family.
While the candy may have been an indulgence, the message was not lost on me and it’s my turn to keep it going. We can’t expect a fellow parent or even a teacher to make our kids eat perfectly well all the time, that’s our job as parents. But we can listen to the lessons they are teaching and interpret them into something our kids can build and grow from at home. Hmmm, could this be the start of a solution for the picky eater??