People often say to me, knowing that I am a nutritionist, “your kids must eat really well.” For the most part, my boys are good eaters. I find the biggest struggle with balance. I make an effort not to present healthy foods as the only foods and not to have treats off limits. Now that my children are a little older, I find they take less policing as they understand why certain foods are less healthy, at least I thought that was the case.
Our family skis most (ok pretty much all) weekends from December through March.  My sons are in a ski program. They are with the same kids and teacher each weekend and really get to know their way around the mountain. Most parents choose to put money on the kids’ lift tickets so that they can purchase snacks when they come in for breaks. Unlike ski school, the kids don’t go to a separate building with specified food. They may take a break at the summit or one of the base lodges, wherever they are they tend to come in mid-morning hungry.
I was thrilled when I found out about this debit card option. It eliminated the worry of either boy losing their money or us forgetting to give them money. Plus, the kids love what they think is a “credit card.” This was the first weekend of their program and they had a few snack questions before drop off. “Can I get candy?” I told them candy wouldn’t fill them up and maybe they should get something else like cereal. “Can we get Gatorade?” I told them it wasn’t the best drink and to stick to water or some hot chocolate (probably as sweet as Gatorade but no coloring, better ingredients).  They had a great first day skiing, chose pretzels and sun chips for snack. Given the less-than-stellar options, it was fine.
Yesterday was rough weather for skiing. It started as snow, progressed into hail then sleet and finally rain. Marc and I went inside after a few (ok 2) runs with zero visibility. Our friends told us most of the groups were upstairs and some parents were pulling kids out. We went to check on them. We located one boy, I’m purposely not telling you which one. This son was wet from the weather and diplomatically, in front of his instructor said, “I’m having fun but I can leave.” Our other son’s instructor told us the other child was downstairs getting something to eat.
I turned to head down the stairs and collided with this rosy-cheeked child of mine. His hands were full of food and drink and he had that guilty/busted look on his face all parents know.  Clutched in one hand was a bottle of water and in the other? A snickers bar AND a brownie. My initial reaction was to laugh, I did and told him to have his snack and meet us downstairs. The more I thought about it though I was a little upset. I do not pack a snack for the boys, do not expect them to choose the apple every day and know my children come by their chocolate love honestly; it’s genetic. My issue was with the volume. Choosing both the chocolate and the brownie seemed like the mouse really playing when the cat was away.
I later asked my son about his snack and he said, “it wasn’t candy or Gatorade.” Technically this was true, I didn’t make too much of it. I told him that one snack is probably sufficient and if he wants a second item try for a fruit. Of course chocolate guy’s brother chimed in “next weekend I am going to get an apple for my snack.” The truth is, all children will go to school or camp and will be left to make their food choices eventually. When I think back, I can think of snacks around the swimming pool or at canteen at camp with fond memories. My realistic hope is that some of this Foodtraining my kids have received will rub off. I hope that they will be able to strike a healthy balance for themselves where chocolate and apples can coexist.
P.S. In full disclosure, I came to these somewhat rational conclusions only after “with all I taught him he chooses this” and other thoughts were cleared.
What do you make of this episode? What were your favorite childhood snacks? Do you think most kids go overboard when parents aren’t present? And finally, snickers or brownie?


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