What Does Treat Mean to You? Nonfood Treat Ideas

Yesterday when we were packing lunchboxes, I asked Ellie what she wanted in the center/hole of her Bentgo lunchbox since it always seems to be the most random spot to fill. She replied by saying, “a treat.” Immediately, my mind went to my version of treats (gummies, chocolate chips, etc.) and not nonfood treat ideas. As I braced myself for yet another we-don’t-eat-sugar-at-every-meal discussion (and since she had been asking for a cookie for breakfast all morning), I was shocked when she said, “you know, like stickers or a note from you.” What?

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Here as I’m thinking she is going to start her plea for the last cake bite from my birthday celebration, all she wanted was a little something special and thoughtful from me. I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t flutter a little.


How do you define treat

Honestly, I was taken aback by her response but it made me stop to think about what a “treat” means to me and how my relationship with food may be different from that of a sugar-obsessed 4-year-old. For so long (and even now) I “treat” myself to a glass of wine after a long day. I “treat” myself to a piece of chocolate when I’m feeling down or frustrated. When I was pregnant, I “treated” myself to a cookie dough blizzard from TCBY after a few grueling appointments. If I’m sad, food. Bored, food. Yet, here this little innocent mind went to something special to her that had nothing to do with food.

I decided right there it was time to change my mindset and how I “treat” myself. Because don’t we all love treats? But don’t we certainly not want to deal with guilt that may be associated for eating something indulgent simply because we’re sad, bored, tired, etc. Trust me when I say that wine and chocolate don’t have to go away but the rewarding or covering up emotions with something sweet has the possibility of harboring a negative relationship with food.

At lunchtime yesterday, I treated myself to a workout and a bouquet of flowers during my Costco-shopping trip. Do you think of a workout as a treat? Not gonna lie, I usually don’t. However, making myself step away from the messy kitchen, the halfway taken down Christmas decorations and the piles of emails and to do something for myself (not to mention the endorphin rush afterwards) was refreshing and gave me that boost to jump back in with a good attitude. And no matter how much I love my glass of wine and chocolate that is something that I can’t say does the same thing for me.

Nonfood treat ideas

How will you treat yourself today? Maybe it’s 15 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time to pray, plan, close your eyes, listen to music, etc. Maybe it is a manicure or a massage. Maybe it is cleaning up your kitchen so your family will have a visually pleasing and relaxing place to gather. Maybe a solo trip to the grocery is your treat? I love to take parking lot vacations—quiet time in a safe, well-lit parking lot checking listening to music and mindlessly cruising the internet for 10 minutes or so. Whatever that might be, I hope you can join me in working to change the “treat” mindset away from food rewards and turn it into a special me time thing that will help you keep your