Michelle's Front Page

Sugar Nation

March 22nd, 2013

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some sweet treats. I’m all about chocolate. And ice cream is a food group in my world. Sometimes fruity skittles turn my crank. All things in moderation – yada yada. I loved this blog post about taking the holidays down a notch. I totally agree. I saw someone on facebook asking how to make St. Patrick’s day more special for her (Guatemalan) children. She had never made a big deal out of it before but everyone else was so she wanted to do it for her children too.

My poor kids. We have a few special traditions. I do the damn elf at Christmas. (I hate that elf…it doesn’t help modify their behavior. It only modifies mine as I wake up in a cold sweat at 3am with the realization that I forgot to move the damned thing again.) I made an advent tree that we put up and enjoy every year. Ummm…that might be where it ends. I don’t decorate for any holiday that doesn’t end in -mas. I don’t go over the top for anything. The bar is very, very low in our house.

But many of my fellow moms don’t share my lazy, low bar setting tendencies. Every freaking holiday and psuedo-holiday results in candy. Look at this:



The pottery bowl on the left is full of left over Halloween and Christmas candy (after them eating some and me throwing a decent amount away). The bowl on the left is Valentine’s Day candy and the felt basket is half full from my youngest’s egg hunt at pre-school. I remember it being a big damn deal when someone included a lollipop in a Valentine card back when I was covering a shoe box with tin foil. It was rare and quite exciting. Now almost every Valentine includes a candy treat. A few were tattoos instead but most were candy. I’m guilty – my girls picked out Valentine’s with candy this year. Last year, Tessa gave out tattoos and Sabrina gave out Hello Kitty magnets but this year they wanted to choose.

Treats have stopped being treats. There was rarely candy in my house growing up. Easter and Halloween was it. Otherwise, there was a dearth of chocolate. I feel like I am constantly having to be the sugar police. The girls request treats daily. I allow them what I believe is a reasonable amount of junk food (some would say none is reasonable…but having grown up with it being off limits, I have struggled my entire life with finding a balance so I am trying to teach it to my children). Part of my just wants to throw all of this away then it stops being an issue. But I have trouble throwing away food and I tend to recycle it. The Halloween and Christmas stuff will go into Easter baskets and plastic eggs. What isn’t eaten will be given out at Halloween (yes, our house might not give out the freshest candy – watch out for those taffys and tootsie rolls HA). But I am weary of all of this candy constantly coming into my house (I don’t mind some but come on – look at the volume). I am weary of telling my children no several times a day when they ask for a treat. I am sad that a sweet little Valentine isn’t enough of a token any more and everything requiring candy or even a whole treat bag.

What do you do with the piles of candy? Do you give your child(ren) free access to it just so it will be gone? Do you limit it? Do you throw it away?

This entry was posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 10:08 am and is filed under food, parenting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

18 Responses to “Sugar Nation”

  1. Shannon Says:

    I refused to do candy this year. I opened up word, found a cartoonish orange clip art on the internet and printed up my own “cards” on orange cardstock that said “Orange you glad we’re friends”. Then did the to and from. My husband was nice enough to cut them all out. We had Kindergarten, preschool, and daycare to do them for. I typed their names on, but had my daughter sign hers also,thought it’s always nice to be able to read the name. We bought clementines on sale. We put the card and the clementine in a baggie. I figured they were getting enough candy and the clementines are just the right size and kids can peel them on their own. The kids had dentist appointments that day too so they also took them to their dentist, the receptionist, and the hygiensts. The dentist said he approved and went and had his for a snack after seeing my kids as he was hungry.

    Day of my kids have more than I would really like, but try to limit it to within a few hours and make them brush extra. Then it’s one piece a day until they get sick of it or I throw it away.

  2. Kim Says:

    We have a rule in our family that if you eat a balanced meal then Alex can have one “treat” a night. That’s it. Much of his candy ends up getting thrown out. Alex LOVES treats, but he also has some self control (which I don’t have). I’m hoping it stays that way.

  3. Jenny Says:

    Other parents we know think we are crazy strict with treats here. But you are right! They get a pile of literal junk way too often. If it’s a holiday (Christmas, Easter, Halloween) they can have too much junk. Not a free-for-all, but several pieces of candy. The next day every kid’s candy is dumped into one bowl and becomes “everyone’s.” For the next few days they may be allowed one piece a day from the bowl. Before long we put it up and they forget about it. I’d say once every 2 weeks they might ask for a piece and we’ll allow it. They actually don’t allow candy or any kind of sweet treats at their schools, so that’s not an issue. But the friend’s birthday party we went to last week made up for a whole year’s worth! The “treat bags” might as well have been bags of sugar.

  4. KimN Says:

    Gabe can’t have dairy so that automatically eliminates most candy options in our house. He typically loses interest in the other candy after a few days and I end up stashing it up in the cupboard until the next time I unearth it while searching for something else and then throw it away. That being said, I do allow dessert at night if he eats a reasonable amount of dinner. It is typically something small like a packet of fruit snacks or 2 Oreo cookies. Outside of that, we don’t do treats during the day. Ellie on the other hand…she can have whatever she asks for. That is the benefit of being a 20lb nearly 4 year old. Unfortunately, she is the one that rarely asks for it. Eden is too small to know what candy is yet.

  5. Tonja Says:

    I agree Michelle. We got one chocolate bunny at Valentines Day, a small amount for Easter and whatever we collected at Halloween. Although we only went to the houses of the people we knew, so I didn’t necessarily rack up then either. It’s too much now. I try to teach responsible eating as well and I think it is working because my kids are almost sick of candy. Don’t get me wrong, they beg for Little Debbie’s in the grocery store. Ahhh that’s another battle. Trying to find the balance is my greatest struggle as a mom. Am I doing it right? Probably not. Do I feel guilty? Absolutely. That’s what being a mom is all about.

  6. Crystal Freemon Says:

    I decided this year that I was no longer going to provide candy for these events. I’m not opposed to a little treat, but you right..it’s gotten out of hand. For Christmas, Megan got a goody bag full of candy from over half her class. That’s too much. So for valentines, the girls made cards that said something nice about each of their classmates (no treat). All the eggs I’ve stuffed for valentines have been filled with stamps and tattoos. I have a couple “hippie” treats (dye free suckers, etc) but is mostly filled with games we can play. The girls really had fun at Halloween and got a huge stash that I admittedly bought from them so they could get a small toy. (Megan does not forget if its here.). I’m all for making holidays special for kids in whatever way fits your family, but I do wish my kids would stop getting so much junk from outside sources.

  7. Julie P Says:

    Don’t hate me when you read my Easter prep post. I like crafting and decorating for Holidays and parties. It’s a hobby for me. But we do try and keep candy to a minimum.

  8. Shannon Says:

    The candy is nuts. We also have stuff left from Halloween & Christmas & Valentines in a big bowl we keep on top of the fridge. An after dinner treat is fine, but I’m very opposed to just having candy all day long, whenever you want. Heck, I don’t even let the girls have more than one juice box a day, and I get those watered down kind of juice as it is. But the candy comes in regardless, from every angle. Goody bags from birthday parties, cupcakes at school because it was so & so’s birthday…it’s ever present sugar in their lives. It’s hard to deal.

  9. Laura Says:

    Hear, hear, Michelle. You are preaching to the choir here 🙂 Multiply all that times five kids! Last week I threw out a gallon ziploc full of candy. I was finding candy wrappers everywhere. I started taking some to work ( yes, I’m feeding community college kiids candy!). Our dentist has a candy buyback after halloween, Our school started a stricter food policy — only two parties per year where there is food AND heallthy foods are highly encouraged. We are not supposed to bring candy (and we don’t) but you’d be surprised how many parents break that rule. Some of my children take heavy duty meds for behavioral issues and for sleeping — added sugar is not welcomed?

  10. Tina Says:

    I let them pick one thing from their halloween bags per day for about a week, then the chocolate goes in an old coffee can & put in the freezer. We pull it out when we go camping with several other couples & their children. Much of it is used for S’Mores around the campfire. Some is given out as Bingo prizes when we’re camping. Same thing happens for most of the non chocolate stuff. Gets put into a big plastic tub with top & put out in the camper (in winter). Our first camping trip is Memorial Weekend so we don’t experience any hot weather by then, so it doesn’t melt. I usually don’t mind the extra treats during camping trips because they’re usually running around, biking & swimming to work it all off.

  11. jane Says:

    I limit my 6 yr old to one candy treat a day. We throw away a lot more than we eat.
    She isn’t allowed to have dyes – Red #40, Blue 2, Yellow 6, Magenta 29,…because of her extreme behavioral response, so that really limits which candies she can have. (Luckily, she’s a chocolate lover like her mother.) But that doesn’t stop her teacher, coach, librarian from offering her m&m’s, skittles, sour tarts and who knows what else at school on a daily basis. My daughter said to me the other day, “My teacher just doesn’t know about red dye, Mama.” Oh yes she does, honey. But why are we making a 6 year old remind her teacher that she can’t have certain items when I have told the teacher many times that a substitute snack is in her lunch box every.single.day?? And why must we reward children with candy and food at school? Kids love stickers and pencils and tiny toys. Grrr.

  12. Sonia in MO Says:

    The candy treat bombardment happens here too. At Halloween, my daughter loves giving the candy out more than she loves going door to door, so after we hit about 10 houses, we come home and then I slip some of stuff I know she doesn’t like into our give-away bowl and it’s given back out again… helps me get rid of a lot of it…lol. Then just before we turn out the lights, the lucky 2-3 kids who are our last trick-or-treaters get everything left in the bowl so WE don’t have leftovers 🙂 I tend to toss a lot of what comes home from parties; I just throw out a few pieces at a time so she doesn’t notice and I don’t feel so bad. With only two of us in the house, we don’t need it.

    I don’t do much decorating for any holiday except Christmas either, although I do change my placemats on the dining room table for Valentines, Easter, etc. They are inexpensive, easy to store, and make me feel like I’m making an effort…lol.

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