Ice cream on a stick
Like most kids, Pumpkin is far from immune to the joys of ice cream. This has always been fine with me. She doesn’t drink enough milk to begin with, and we’ve always tried to find ways to get extra healthy calories in her slender body. But this year, she has discovered the pleasure of a dubious treat: Ice cream bars, or as we call them in our house, “ice cream on a stick.”
This obsession started in April when I bought her an eclair-style ice cream bar on a whim after an energetic workout at Reis Park in Somers. There is always an ice cream truck parked near the playground there in the warm weather. Well, the tastiness of the treat and the novelty of visiting the truck and eating the ice cream in the car on the way home made quite the impression. And, if that wasn’t enough, she started asking us to read a cute little board book we have at home that’s shaped like an ice cream truck (before this, she didn’t quite get the point of the book).
Now, every time we go to Reis Park, Pumpkin begs for “ice cream on a stick.” Apart from the outrageous cost â€” $3 a bar â€” the fact is that these treats are far from ideal nutrionally. Back when she was content with the now-boring ice cream in dish, I bought all-natural ice cream that had ingredients I recognized. But just look at this list from the <a href=”http://www.icecreamusa.com/products/product.cfm?u=41000-05152&b=2″ target=”_blank”>Good Humor Chocolate Eclair</a>:
INGREDIENTS: ICE CREAM: NONFAT MILK, SUGAR, MILKFAT, CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WHEY, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, CELLULOSE GUM, GUAR GUM, POLYSORBATE 65 AND 80, CARRAGEENAN, ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS. CHOCOLATE CORE: WATER, CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), MODIFIED SOY PROTEIN, GUAR GUM, MODIFIED CELLULOSE, LOCUST BEAN GUM, POLYSORBATE 80. COATING: CAKE CRUNCH [BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, SUGAR, PALM OIL, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, BAKING SODA], SOYBEAN OIL, COCONUT OIL, SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, DRY WHOLE MILK, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.
This does NOT make me happy. I pay more for organic milk and cheese. I buy natural eggs. We eat only whole wheat bread and whole-grain pancakes. I belong to a food co-op. But all of these strategies to avoid the overprocessed packaged foods at the supermarket are done in by the appeal of the ice cream on a stick.
Here is my question: Has anyone ever seen a “healthy” version of an ice cream bar? I did some nosing on the Web and found one company called Mister Cookie Face in Lakewood, N.J., that makes organic novelties under the <a href=”http://www.cookieface.com/woodlakefarms.html” target=”_blank”>Woodlake Farms</a> brand. But I’ve never seen them in local stores.
What do the rest of you parents do when it comes to dubious treats like these? And, before you all point out the obvious: Yes, I realize she is 3 years old. No, she doesn’t have her own money. Yes, I do in fact buy these for her. And, no, she couldn’t get them on her own. What, you say? Just stop? Well, it would take a tougher parent than I am to say no to her calls for “ice cream on a stick.” She just loves them too much. My goal is to find a manufacturer who makes these with, oh, let’s say five ingredients total, including milk, cream, sugar and chocolate â€” and without high fructose corn syrup.
Since we’re on the topic of ice cream, I thought you all might enjoy some links I found in my research. Here is a discussion of the <a href=”http://inventors.about.com/od/foodrelatedinventions/a/ice_cream.htm” target=”_blank”>history of ice cream</a>, which has been enjoyed in this country since the days of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson â€” making it an especially fitting treat for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. And here is a link to an article in the National Archives on the <a href=”http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/spring/popsicle-1.html” target=”_blank”>origins of Good Humor and Popsicle novelties</a>, originally called “ice cream suckers” and billed as a more convenient way to eat ice cream. Pumpkin would certainly agree.