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Oh, Gisele: Don't lie to your kids about ice cream

I'm Parenting Editor at SheKnows. I'm the co-author of Let's Panic About Babies(Macmillan, 2011). I've also written for numerous publications including Salon, Redbook, Nerve, and The Onion. I live in Brooklyn with my husband, son, tiny d...

Acai is not ice cream, Gisele, no matter how much you want it to be true

Dear Gisele, 

This morning I woke up to the news from People magazine: You’re still eating crazy-healthy. And so are your kids. So, pretty much, you’re doing what you’ve been doing for a while, and People is just letting us know. Fair enough. But then you went too far. And I quote:

"To implement fruits into their diet, she serves the kid-favorite combo acai with berries and banana — and tries to convince them that it’s ice cream!"

Oh, Gisele. No. Acai is not ice cream. Sure, everyone’s trying to convince us all that acai bowls are delicious. And I'll bet they are! I see how you can create purées that have an ice cream-like texture. But acai is fruit. Fruit is not ice cream.

Look, I get it. You’re the world’s highest-paid supermodel. Your husband is some sports guy. (I don’t know much about sports. Football? Pretty sure he does football.) You can’t possibly eat what normal humans eat. And frankly, I appreciate how upfront you are about this. If you were all, “What can I say? I can’t stop eating fries, lol! Guess I’m just lucky! What’s a ‘kale’?” you would be beneath contempt. I, for one, treasure your honesty in this regard.

More: Why you might want to try Gisele and Tom's extreme diet

But where’s that honesty when it comes to your kids, Gisele? Why are you pulling the cruelty-free wool over their eyes? I get wanting your kids to eat as healthily as you. I remember telling my son that bananas were as good as candy. He rolled his eyes at that statement. And he was a toddler, Gisele. I didn’t even know he knew what eye-rolling was at that stage. Kids figure this out really quickly: There’s healthy-delicious and garbage-delicious. And there are worlds between the two.

Look, tons of kids grow to prefer healthy-delicious to, say, eating Skittles with milk for breakfast. (I’m a little disgusted with myself for coming up with that.) I’m not saying you have to give in and buy them Pop-Tarts. I’m just saying at some point, you have to be honest about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it. Because there will come a day when one of your children will be, say, with his team celebrating their soccer win. Ice cream will be offered. And it won’t be the organic, coconut milk kind. It might even be soft-serve. If you’re lucky, that child will sniff at this ice cream and declare, “But where are the berries? Where are the chia seeds?” and toss it in the garbage. And all the other kids will think your kid is weird. That’s if you’re lucky.

But there’s a more troubling scenario, and it’s a real possibility: Your child is offered garbagey, full-sugar ice cream. With sprinkles! He takes one tentative lick. And another. “This… this is ice cream?” he whispers, tears forming in his eyes. “Mother, why?” And while all the other kids stare, he weeps and eats, weeps and eats, then he’s shoved the entire cone into his mouth and before anyone knows what’s happening, he’s hurtling over the counter, trying to get his mouth under one of the soft-serve levers, shouting, “IS THIS FULL OF ANTIOXIDANTS?”

More: 4 acai smoothie bowls that will transform you into a superhero

Don’t trick your kids, Gisele. Tell them acai bowls are similar to ice cream; tell them they’re even better than ice cream because they won’t clog your arteries or send your blood sugar skyrocketing. Remember: ice-cream-like is not ice cream. You know what’s ice cream? Ice cream. Nothing else, Gisele. Nothing else.

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