My daughter Annie and her friend Grace are at a softball camp this week, and because the camp is a bit of a distance away, we are carpooling with Grace’s parents. The drop-off spot? None other than Dunkin Donuts, home of the French Vanilla Coolatta, chocolate-glazed donut and myriad other sweets that tempt the palates of tween girls.
For the last three days now, the girls have giggled their way to donuts and muffins and sugary beverages. It’s hard to resist their requests when you know they’ve been out there sweating in the sun, running bases, throwing pitches and fielding balls. So they’ve had the good fortune of ending their workouts with a sweet treat each day.
Still, the nutritional gatekeeper in me wonders if this is a good idea. Am I giving my daughter too many sweets this week? Is she overdoing it with the sugar? And what about the mystery ingredients?
The other part of me says, relax. It’s one donut a day for potentially five days in a row. That’s it. The camp doesn’t last forever — if it did, we’d have to meet up at a veggie stand instead, as Grace’s father quipped. It’s a small reward for a hard day’s work.
As a mom who knows too much about nutrition, it’s easy to belabor these decisions and to err on the side of caution, ie. saying no to the donut. But as a mom who still wants her child to still enjoy an occasional treat — and thereby strip the donut of its novelty — I’ve chosen to allow the donut and will probably do so again tomorrow and Friday.
It helps to know that Annie is a fervent fan of green vegetables, who likes to heap her plate with kale, spinach and bok choi. It also helps to know she has just spent hours on the ball field.
Most important, we know this won’t be a daily ritual, just a one-week habit, one that’s unlikely to become a lifelong routine. It will end with the end of softball camp. That’s when the nutritional gatekeeper makes her return.