Why I won't buy my kids Bear Paws

There's a familiar conversation that happens in our household, every time we bring the kids to the grocery store.

Kids: "Mommy, can we buy these {insert packaged food item}? ALL the kids at school have them, and I REALLY WANT THEM!!!"

Me: "What are these things?" I ask, and pick up the box. "$2.99 for this box of crap!! You've got to be kidding me...we could make these {insert processed food item} at home for pennies!"

Kids: "No Mommy, we don't want to MAKE these things...we want them out of the box!!"

Me: "Sorry kiddos, you will thank Mommy when you are older."

And honestly? They will totally thank me. They may groan and complain, but one day they'll be wheeling a cart through the grocery store with their own children, saying the exact same thing.

How do I know this? Case in point:

My own mother always purchased natural peanut butter from the local bulk food store. The kind man behind the counter would scoop up a big jug of peanuts, and we would watch (with little enthusiasm) as the diarrhea-like mush plopped into the container. At home, the PB would sit on the shelf, its oil rising to the top, so that whenever we went to spread it on our toast, it took superhuman strength to blend the oil back into the peanut rock at the bottom.

"Mom, seriously, when can we buy some of the REAL peanut butter that all the other kids eat?"

"This IS real peanut butter, honey" she would say. "That other crap is full of sugar!"

My mother also refused to buy Wonderbread (or any other "white" bread) and when she made KoolAid, she would cut the sugar in half. The first time I tasted KoolAid the way the package instructions dictate, I almost spit it out. It was really, really sweet.

My brother and I would dive into Kraft PB and white bread at other people's houses, complaining about our mother and her nutritional principles.

And here I am...25 years later, lecturing my kids about the evil packaged foods they think they need. It's comforting to know that no matter what you do, you WILL turn into your mother.

I'm not the nutritional police. My kids eat enough chocolate in a year for us to own a cocoa plantation, and while camping, I'll buy those mini cereal boxes that contain Froot Loops, Coco Puffs and Frosted Flakes. I do understand the convenience behind individually-packaged foods! To be honest, my main reasons behind avoiding packaged/processed foods is that a) I'm cheap; and b) I hate the environmental waste. And I really DO think homemade tastes better. Even homemade Bear Paws.

I'm also not naive enough to believe that this will last forever. Some day my kids will wear me down with their complaining, and I'll probably give in and buy the crap. Or they'll have their own money to buy it.

But for now, I have the upper hand, and all the dolla bills. Which I'd rather spend on a great bar of dark chocolate - that I'll hide in the fridge behind the homemade sauerkraut.