Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chocolate?

So, I've already covered the fact that this weekend was Easter, and we had a lovely time. But I don't believe I mentioned the great chocolate debate. And by that I mean the chocolate debate that I imagine is happening.

You see, while I research almost every aspect of mothering to an absurd, almost scholarly degree, I haven't even gone so far as to Google the question "Is chocolate bad for toddlers?" I've asked a few other mommies of similarly aged children if they allow chocolate, and invariably the answer is "no", not even for Easter. Which has made me nervous to look it up because...

...Here's a confession... Ollie ate chocolate on Easter. AND.. it wasn't his first time (gasp!).

I'm basically an "everything in moderation" person (except for the odd night when "moderate" means an entire party size bag of Lays BBQ chips. What?! I'm going to eat them all eventually anyway.. might as well be all at once!) But my overall food philosophy can basically be summed up that way. I've never had issues with my food, my weight or my health, and everyone in my family is pretty much the same. Except my Dad. He has a peanut M&Ms problem.

In our home growing up, we ate healthy, home cooked meals. We never had sugar cereal and I don't have a single memory of having pop (although we must have once in a while). But we were allowed treats as one of the many joys of childhood, and we enjoyed them. I want Ollie to enjoy food as one of the many pleasures in life, and I hope that for him that means loving tasty eggplant stews AND sweet, chocolaty treats equally.

When I didn't know if Ollie was a boy or a girl, I spent lots of time fretting over the "issues" I know little girls might face as they grow up. Food and body image stuff was high on the list. I'm sure it's wrong and naive of me, but when Ollie was born a boy, a lot of those worries went right out the window. But after just a few short months of feeding Oliver food, I am realizing that my approach would have been the same for boy or girl:

1. Eat good food.
2. Try everything.
3. Move your body.

I don't know if the concerns about giving children chocolate are related to weight, or sugar (which I AM suspicious of, but see: moderation), or caffeine (I suspect he gets more through my breastmilk). Whatever it is, I get wanting to keep your child free of things you think might be bad for him. We're still an organic house that's mostly meat free and hasn't seen a commercial cleaning product in almost two years. But once in a while, you might catch Ollie with a little chocolate mustache.

Is that so bad?

If your little one is allowed a little bit of chocolate, here's Ollie's favorite muffin recipe to try...

Ollie's Forbidden Chocolate Chip Muffins
Mix together:
  • One ripe banana (or 3/4 of a shredded zucchini or 1/2 cup applesauce)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 oil, 1/2 ground flaxseed)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup of maple syrup (depending on your sweetness tolerance)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Then combine separately and add to wet ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup pecans (or preferred nut)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Bake at 375 for about 18-20 minutes.

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