Ice Cream…for Breakfast!

Oddly enough, and strange as it may sound, dessert for breakfast must be the current theme running through my life! Since summer officially arrives in just a couple of days, I have already retrieved and started carrying my Kate Spade bag that cleverly proclaims “Eat Cake for Breakfast!” People constantly stare at me—some just bewildered because they know I’m an RD while others feel a sense of relief because they know I’m an RD and I’m displaying such a bag! Is this the message I truly want to send? Do I want people to think they really should eat cake for breakfast? Well…no, I don’t. But there is a much larger meaning to these words. Quite simply: “Don’t take life so seriously. Live a little!” This is a great message for all of us who tend to become so emotionally wrapped up…especially when dealing with our feelings as they relate to eating. Sometimes, those of us overly focused on health need to be less rigid and more flexible with food.
On a more realistic level, do I regularly eat—or even let my kids eat—cake for breakfast? Consider this: I grew up eating bagels for breakfast on Saturday and then donuts on Sunday after church. And this weekly family routine probably continued until I was in the fifth grade. Do I think this was healthy? No, of course not! Do I typically eat bagels or donuts for breakfast now? Well, no…but there are exceptions.
As the temperatures warmed up during the past few weeks, my boys started asking for ice cream to cool them off while at the park (Oh yes, the ice cream man still exists!) and for their nighttime snack as well. Mind you, their favorite “ice creams” are Ciao Bella Sorbet, Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt and Baskin Robins Rainbow Sherbet. Some of the times…I actually say YES to their requests. OK, let’s be honest here…I say YES most of the time!
So…about two weeks ago, my son Bobby asked me for ice cream for breakfast. I quickly said NO because I knew he needed more protein in his breakfast that particular morning since he had been somewhat moody the night before. And I took a moment to explain why I had denied his request. Then just last week, he asked me again. My immediate response: “YES, you can have ice cream for breakfast, but then you can’t have it for your after school or nighttime snack. It’s your choice.” Well, Bobby chose to have it as his nightly snack as he truly enjoys it the most at that time. He said he would wait. Well, that night he didn’t even have it! He was outside playing and I thought he probably just forgot about it when he quickly came in to bathe and go to sleep. Forgot about it? Not so fast…
A day or two later, he told me he never had his ice cream the other night and wondered if he could have it now. Well, I said YES…even though it was breakfast time! You see, I was eating cookies (similar to Oreos) when he asked me…not exactly the ideal example showing how Mom eats a substantial, balanced breakfast! So that morning, the three of us (Bobby, his younger brother Billy, and Mom) ate “sometimes” foods for breakfast. I definitely knew, and could physically feel, that for me, cookies were surely not the best food to eat prior to my spin class! But we all enjoyed our meals and our individual choices were non-issues.
Finally, I just recently attended my friend’s post-wedding brunch in Virginia where I enjoyed Greek yogurt, a slice of watermelon and a small piece of coffee cake. Cake for breakfast yet again! Seriously, the simple message here is: Teaching your children how to eat all foods can be helpful in preventing feelings of deprivation. Also, explaining why you say YES or NO to various foods at various times gives you many convenient opportunities to help your children make their own food decisions later in life. And one more thing…what you eat at any given meal doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be a healthy individual overall.
So, what do you feed your kids for breakfast? Do you ever eat—or let your kids eat—cake, ice cream, hot cocoa or waffles with syrup for breakfast?

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