Candy and Children
Holidays, celebrations, and everyday fun seem to present more junk food options for children. Learn how to decrease the amount of unhealthy foods presented to your kids.
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This week I would like to take a moment to vent. What is with all the candy? Seriously, my kids get candy from school, pre-school, parties, playgroup, holidays, and yet – they still ask for more. How did this phenomenon start? I have no idea, but I certainly would like to make it stop. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to banish candy and junk-food from the world, but I’d definitely like to see a decrease in the amount offered to my kids. OK, I admit that just venting about the issue isn’t going to solve anything, so I’m going to offer some ideas to, at the very least, decrease the candy consumption in MY world.
Candy and Children
In order to decrease the amount of junk presented to my children, I first had to make a list of all the places where the stuff was appearing. My kids seem to come home with an abundance of candy from school events. Valentine’s Day seemed to be the biggest culprit. Valentines are now packaged with candies for your children to hand out along with the little cards. I seem to remember just being content with the little cards when I was a kid. Why do we have to stick a lollipop on them now? As a parent, if you feel that your child needs to include an additional present any time they hand out notes, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be candy. This year my children attached pencils. Some other options are temporary tattoos, stickers, or small hand-held games.
Your children could also make personalized cards for their friends instead of including a gift. Get them involved in the idea of appreciating their friends that way instead of by giving out junk-food. Similarly, you can choose to hand-out non-sweet gifts for holidays like Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. How many little candy canes does one kid need to eat in a year? A decorated coupon for a play date at the park may be just as happily received and definitely a much healthier option. Remember, you set the stage for your child’s expectations at home. In our house the Easter Bunny hides eggs and delivers Easter baskets with books, movies, and coloring supplies instead of giant chocolate bunnies.
Ration out the Portions
Even if you do try to limit the amount of treats you are giving to your children, they are sure to bring them home from outside activities. Easter egg hunts, trick-or-treating, Valentines, birthday parties, or school events can send children home with loaded goodie bags. My suggestion is to ration out the treats to keep the consumption under control. We have a cookie tin in our house where all the goodies are stored. Once the treats come into the house, I go through them and decide what we are keeping. I remove items that I don’t allow my children to have, such as gum, choking hazards, or items that appear to have been opened. Everything else goes into the tin and the tin is kept out of site and reach. My kids know they are permitted one treat from the treat-tin per day, but they tend to forget that it’s there. That method has worked for us for a long time. So, after dinner, if my children ask for dessert, this would be a time they could choose an item from the tin or a popsicle from the freezer. I explain that these items are yummy, but are NOT healthy. That helps my children understand why they don’t want to eat them often and encourages them to choose a different snack, such as fruit or yogurt.