I have a huge sweet tooth. My love of sugar is seriously monumental. Most days, at around 3:00 in the afternoon, I start craving something treat-like. If I’ve baked cookies recently or I have some chocolate on hand, I’ll eat that, and the sugar helps to see me through that low point in the day. Since I don’t drink coffee, sugar is my go-to when I need a quick energy hit.
The problem I run into every now and again, though, is that I don’t always have a ready-made treat on hand. Sometimes I’m out of goodies because of a shocking lapse in planning. Sometimes I’m out of goodies because I’ve decided that sugar isn’t good for me and I should be eating less. And sometimes I’m out of goodies because my kids caught me eating something sweet and then I had to share it and my stash was sadly depleted. Whatever the cause, when the 3:00 munchies hit, I find myself wandering my kitchen and improvising something out of what I have on hand.
My current go-to improvised treat is a marshmallow with a Nutella knock-off on top. Since I get my Nutella knock-off at the farmers’ market, and it’s made using locally-grown hazelnuts, I even feel somewhat virtuous eating it. It’s hippie food, it has to be good for you, right? Some of my other improvisational goodies don’t have as much locavore street cred, though. My favourites include include marshmallows and peanut butter, chocolate chips straight from the bag, peanut butter and honey mixed together and eaten straight, and raisins (when the pickings are really slim). Also, because I was raised on carob I actually like the stuff, so I’ve been known to eat carob chips straight from the bag, as well.
There was a time in my life when I just kept a bag of chocolate chips in easy reach to nibble from. That time was before I had children. My problem these days is that I need to keep my treat-noshing under the radar, for two reasons: (1) I’m trying to set a good example, and (2) I don’t want to share. If I left chocolate chips in easy reach, my kids would be eating them all day, every day. Not good. Plus I would run out of chocolate chips. So I have to keep my sugar consumption under wraps as best I can. I open cupboard doors so that the children can’t see what I’m doing. I wait until they’re glued to something on TV. Or, sometimes, I offer them something healthy and then while they’re busy peeling oranges I indulge.
In spite of my efforts to be sly, I’m not sure I’m fooling anyone. The problem with chocolate is that children can smell it on you from 40 paces. They know what I’m up to, and no amount of feigned ignorance on my part is going to change that. They’re simply not buying it when I say, “Really? You smell chocolate? Funny, I can’t imagine why that is!” They know why that is, and I know they know. And yet, none of this stops me. The siren call of sugar is strong.
So if you come to my house at around 3:30pm, and you find the kids watching TV while I hide in the kitchen, you know what’s up. Sometimes a parent just has to do what a parent has to do to get through the day.
What about you? Do you have a sweet tooth? What do you eat when you’ve finished all the good chocolate and you’re not up for baking cookies? And how successful are you at hiding your treat consumption from your kids? I’d love to hear!