How My Diet Prevented My Kids From Making Great Memories

How My Diet Prevented My Kids From Making Great Memories

One mom reveals how her diet held her back from special time with her son.


By Judy Koutsky

When I took my 6-year-old-son, Jack, to Chicago for the holidays, his cousins asked if he wanted to bake cookies. “I don’t know, I’ve never done that,” he confessed. The cousins and my sister looked horrified. Confession: I don’t bake any kind of sweets with my kids. Why? Because I’m always watching my weight and want to avoid temptation.

I didn’t think it was such a bad thing not to bake with my kids. I let them have cookies and sweets on special occasions and at birthday parties. For some reason, store-bought desserts and cupcakes don’t have the same appeal to me, so I’m fine being around them. But the smell of homemade cookies, brownies, and other goodies is pretty hard to resist. As someone who writes about health and nutrition regularly, I believe the first key to keeping your weight in check is to make wise food choices. For me, that means making sure the fridge is stocked with fruits and veggies and not cookie dough. In fact, I don’t even having baking paraphernalia in the house: no mixer, no special baking bowls, and no cute aprons.

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I didn’t think I was depriving my 6-year-old and 4-year-old until Jack’s revelation was met with those looks of shock from his cousins. I then started to think about my memories growing up with five siblings -- a big part of that was making cookies from scratch (and licking the bowl).

So I decided to compromise. While I didn’t want to throw myself wholeheartedly into baking, I decided to take a little step by buying a package of pre-made cookie dough. Together, Jack and I took out the cookie sheets, greased the pans, plopped the perfect amount of dough in each spot, and then, waited the 10 minutes while it baked. I started to rethink this plan when the smell alone made me feel like I was gaining five pounds. But then something special happened.

I started telling Jack stories about my childhood and how I made cookies with his aunts and uncles. He asked lots of questions -- what kinds of cookies, how old was I, did I share -- and those 10 minutes waiting for the timer to go off flew by. I realized that was the magic of baking -- spending time together.

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When the cookies came out of the oven, and after they cooled, I let Jack have one. Then another and another. I knew I shouldn’t let him eat so many, but I also didn’t want them in the house for me to consume. So, I put them in a container and sent them to his school the next day to share with his friends at lunch. He was the star of the lunchroom, and I learned a valuable lesson: It’s not the end result that’s important in baking, it’s all the wonderful bonding moments along the way. I resolved to bake again with my kids and plan to spread cheer (namely my own) by giving away the fruit of our labor. That makes both mother and son happy.

Have you ever had a similar realization about sharing an experience with your kids?


Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of Parenting.com, AOL Parent and BabyTalk.com. Follow her on Twitter @JudyKoutsky.

Image ©iStock.com/shalamov


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