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Published March 30, 2010, 12:00 AM

Parenting Perspectives: Cravings for kids’ food difficult to ignore

Christmas was bad. Valentine’s Day wasn’t much better. Of course, I’m talking about my complete lack of will power to resist holiday sweets.

Christmas was bad. Valentine’s Day wasn’t much better. Of course, I’m talking about my complete lack of will power to resist holiday sweets.

(Thank heavens the people behind St. Patrick’s Day haven’t come up with chocolate-covered corned beef and cabbage.)

So not long ago I decided to take on a food detox plan I read about in a magazine. It consists of seven days of eating mostly fruits, vegetables and lean protein. It wasn’t easy to swear off bread, pasta and diet soda. But I was managing fine. Until Day 4.

I made myself salmon and green beans for dinner. Since my daughters refuse to eat salmon (even though I’ve tried to sell them on the fact that it’s the same color as Sleeping Beauty’s dress), I made them fish sticks and noodles.

After 3 days of my restricted diet, I ate my food in about two minutes, nearly licking the plate. Meanwhile, my girls had barely touched their food. So I was left to clean up plates full of perfectly good fish sticks and buttery noodles.

It all looked so good. Salty and buttery. I could feel my mouth watering. Who knew frozen fish sticks could be so tempting? It took all my strength not to dive in. It was at that moment I realized that even though I have learned to eat healthy adult food, kid food has an enduring power to entice.

Haven’t we all ordered that healthy salad at a restaurant only to polish off our children’s chicken nuggets and happy-face fries? And don’t we sometimes hope they share their kiddie sundae?

I miss the days of childhood when I had absolutely no concern for what I ate. No concerns for fat, carbs or calories. If it was good, I ate it.

Some of my fondest memories of childhood revolve around the food we ate. I remember eating fried Cheerios and making fried bologna sandwiches with my cousin Kelly. (Fried was a very big deal in the ’70s. Remember the Fry Daddy?)

I remember riding bikes to the store to buy Tangy Taffy and Pixie Sticks and drinking Tang before school while begging Mom for Count Chocula or Captain Crunch cereal.

Being grown up means fiber, whole grain, and antioxidants. But some mornings my inner 7-year-old is screaming for chocolate cereal and Tang. It was good enough for the astronauts, wasn’t it?

I know it’s all about balance and moderation. We should be able to have not-so healthy food occasionally. I want to be able to share a big tub of popcorn with my kids at the movies but then steer them toward healthier foods when we get home.

As for me, the seven-day detox was a good thing. I felt better, lighter and more energetic.

But I won’t lie. I really missed bread, pasta and diet pop. I’m eating and drinking them again, just not as much. It’s a good thing. All I can say now is my kids better keep an eye on their fish sticks.

Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is a personality for WDAY AM 970.