Summer’s here, school’s out for most people, and it’s possible that your house is already echoing with the dulcet tones of “Mummy, I’m hungry!” Snacks don’t have to be bad for you of course, but summer should be fun, right? And also, we do want those dulcet tones to stay dulcet. Celery sticks with peanut butter will only appease them for so long.
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of junk food, or ‘treats’ as you may term it. But if you want to do the right thing by your kids – and your own body – then your local confectionery aisle or donut store is not the place to go for answers. Do you remember Michael Pollan’s Food Rules? Here’s one of my favourite ones:
Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
1. It takes effort to make junk food. You’re less likely to be eating cupcakes every day if you have to bake them yourself. And as Michael says, would you be eating french fries if you had to peel, slice, parboil, cook once, drain, cook again…?
2. Your junk food is better than store junk food. Poor quality ingredients, way more sugar than you would dream of putting in, trans fats, and preservatives. Do you really know what’s in that packet of chocolate chip cookies? Make it yourself and you know what you’re eating.
3. Cooking is fantastic family time. Not to mention useful life skills – tell your son that chicks totally dig a guy who can make them heart-shaped cookies. This summer, arrange some cooking activities with your family. I guarantee they’d much rather eat and share the lopsided muffins they made themselves than the ones you bought at the shops when they weren’t around to help you choose.
And a final note, packet-mix cakes and cookie rolls don’t count! (Do you call them cookie rolls? You know what I mean anyway). They’re a good stepping stone for your first cooking lessons with small children, but after that, move on. Know exactly what you’re eating, you can’t if it’s coming out of a packet – even if you did ‘bake it yourself’. And seriously – from scratch really isn’t that hard.
We’re going to play with the idea of Home Made Junk Food for a few weeks this summer. We’d love you to send in your stories and recipes. What do you take to parties to impress people? Do your kids choose home-made birthday cakes? Please share below, or drop us an email.