This week we’re visited by Tammy Credicott, blog author at The Healthy GF Life and the brilliant creator of Make Ahead Paleo, Paleo Indulgences and The Healthy Gluten Free Life. She is known for inspiring families to think differently about the food they eat, and today she does just that.
Today Tammy helps us think differently about how “treats” are used in our day to day activities, and shares a fantastic recipe that is perfect for holiday indulgences!
Do you get the feeling that special occasions aren’t really all that special anymore? Every time I turn around there’s another party, potluck, BBQ, anniversary, holiday, made-up holiday, “My kid is amazing so let’s have a cupcake!” day at school, and the list goes on and on. Back in the day, I was happy to get a chocolate cake from the infamous Betty Crocker (it was the 70’s & boxed foods were king) for my birthday, and a little somethin’ somethin’ during Christmas, Valentine’s Day and of course, Halloween. But in between those truly special occasions? Not much, except for the occasional summer strawberry shortcake or peach cobbler. My kids are faced with so much more.
Last year I kept a large container on my kitchen counter and planned on filling it during a month-long period with “special” treats my kids received. It was completely full in just 1 week. One! Between school rewards (Really? Candy as a reward at school? Why is this still allowed?), which was sadly the bulk of the items received, the bank, utility company, and pretty much any local business we visited, the kids were given candy, gum and cookies galore. Now add in family birthdays, celebrations and play dates, and you’ve got yourself a daily battle against even the best intentions.
As my container reached its brim, I asked myself, “What are we teaching our kids about ‘special’ moments?” If we constantly throw sugar at our kids to say – “Great job Johnny!” or “Thank you for being so quiet at the bank Sally!” – how will they ever learn that food is not a reward, but fuel, and that special moments don’t happen every single day…that’s why they’re special!
Obviously, what constitutes a special occasion is different for each individual and family, but it’s up to us as parents to decide, and more importantly, teach, what is special and what is excess. For my family, our celebrations include birthdays and Holidays – not Tuesday after math class. I think it’s important to choose which occasions are truly special to you and your family and do your best to provide a healthier version of a treat to celebrate it. Let the other stuff go and your kids will learn that junk doesn’t need to be consumed every day. In doing this, we can teach them that it’s ok to indulge every once in awhile, but doing it every day makes it mundane and unhealthy.
One thing I’m trying to do more, is be present at school functions and volunteer for more school celebration planning. My hope is to plant the seed for change in my kids’ school to stop the daily birthday celebrations and opt for once a month celebration instead (so all those with birthdays in a single month would celebrate together- once). Last year, my kids were exposed to dozens of birthday junk-fests at school (not counting birthday parties held off campus after school hours). Changing to a once a month plan would cut it down to 10 in a school year. Much less excessive. This goes for the work place too. Tired of Bob in the next office always bringing in donuts, or the office birthday cakes that seem to find themselves in the break-room every day? Start a petition for once-a-month birthday celebrations and push for a First Friday Feast where donuts (or whatever) are only brought in on the first Friday of the month. Spacing these “special occasions” out, plus knowing when they’ll be happening, can help you maintain your own sanity plus it gives you time to prepare a healthier alternative for yourself (and others if you’re feeling generous).
I know it’s a long road, since our society has gotten so hooked on any excuse for a sweet celebration. But I’m on a mission to teach my kids the difference between “special” and a bad habit. I’m curious…what are the special occasions in your family, and what things do you just say no to?
Here’s a recipe I don’t have trouble saying yes to! One of my favorite traditions during the Holiday season is making cookies with my kids for friends and neighbors….and, okay – a few for us too! This recipe for Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies comes from my latest book, Make Ahead Paleo, and has been in my family for years. I converted it to a grain free treat because, when it comes to the Holidays in our house, it just isn’t Christmas without the sound of giggles and the smell of fresh baked cookies! We enjoy and share them once a year, and they taste that much sweeter because they truly are, for us, a special treat.
- Dry Ingredients:
- 2 C almond flour
- 2 TBSP coconut flour, sifted
- 1/3 C arrowroot starch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Wet Ingredients:
- ¼ C maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
- zest of 1 orange
- ½ C white chocolate chips
- ½ C coarsely chopped, roasted macadamia nuts
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a medium bowl add dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Add wet ingredients, except coconut oil. Blend with a hand mixer until combined. Add coconut oil and blend again to incorporate.
- Stir in orange zest, white chocolate chips and nuts.
- Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten each dough ball slightly with the palm of your hand since they don’t spread while baking. (note: they will spread if you use butter instead of coconut oil so be sure to leave room).
- Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container or freeze until needed.
Tammy Credicott is a recipe developer, food photographer, public speaker, allergy-friendly cooking instructor, and the national bestselling author of Make Ahead Paleo, Paleo Indulgences and The Healthy Gluten Free Life. She has a passion for understanding health and wellness as it relates to nutrition and has used this knowledge to help her family overcome health issues such as celiac disease, multiple food intolerances, eczema and ADD. She lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and two daughters.
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