To Dessert or Not to Dessert

by Marina Leyenson

The new school year was on its way, and my son, who started first grade needed a daily snack to eat in school. After I obtained all the regular suspects, i.e. gold fish of multiple varieties, crackers( unsalted of course), sea weed in small individual packages, baby carrots, apple slices and tangerines, I thought what about a treat? Being a dessert-o-holick (is it even a word?) myself I firmly believe that children should not be deprived of the wonderful verity of sugary stuff that is available in your local supermarket, within the a reason of course. And why should I deprive my son’s teacher of the wonderful sugar induced hi, that follows ingestion of above mentioned treats. Why should I be the only lucky victim, I mean recipient, of bounsing-off-the-wall power of sugar rush. However,there was this stern letter form school to content with: “Please make sure to sent only healthy snacks to school with your child”. Ha!

Well, with that letter in mind I have decided to challenge myself and find a dessert that is full of sugary goodness and totally, somewhat, healthy. What kind of things are good for an almost six year old boy. Well vegetables are good, but I have yet to see words vegetable and dessert used in the same sentence, not to mention in a dessert. Then I thought fruit, but with apples, tangerines and grapes I already had that food group on the lunch box menu. I accepted the challenge and went to the grocery store. After a thorough investigation I concluded that jolly ranchers and lifesavers although fruit flavored, can’t be considered healthy and therefore acceptable snack.

Supermarket Choices

Next on the list were fruit snack gummies. They claimed to be made with 25% fruit. I even found the ones that looked and smelled like fruit. Still they were too much like o-so-not healthy gummy bears. And then I found fruit cups. They are sweet and they have fruit in them, the best of both worlds, right? In my opinion they even looked cool and had this almost ice-cream like effect because you eat them with the spoon. I spent half hour choosing from a great variety. Color, consistency and fruit variety all came under my scrutiny, as well as sugar content because after all we need a healthy dessert. Finally I chose one with symmetrically cut pieces of fruit that claimed to be peach serenely swimming in its own juice. After the little cups newly anointed by me as a dessert were chosen, I grabbed enough to last me a month, because in my opinion I had cheated the system and found the best choice in both worlds.

The next day I proudly packed my “good for you” dessert in my son’s lunch box together with all the other healthy choices and a plastic spoon. My son went to school, he came back, the lunch box was empty, I was happy. This continued for several blissful weeks. Until one day I offered my son the fruit cup at home as a special treat, and my darling boy goes : “Not that, I hate that”. My response to it was what do you mean you hate that, I have been giving it to you every day for almost a month. What have you been doing with it? And he goes: “I did not want to tell you but I’ve been throwing it to the garbage”. What followed was me hearing my perfect idea crashing to the ground and braking into million tiny pieces.

How this food science story ends? In addition to all the other healthy, or not so healthy snacks, I put a tiny bag of fruit snacks ( the ones that are made with 25% fruit) and as thanks occasionally get it’s empty remains back, so that I have he honor of throwing it out. And if I’ll get a letter from school accusing me of non-healthy snack violations I’ll just send them the rest of the fruit cup as a treat.

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