Kids and Candy

I’ve always been a big fan of Halloween candy.

candy

When I was younger, my friends and I would go to the “good” neighborhood, where many houses gave out full-sized candy bars. One guy even gave out dollar bills (?) instead of candy, and a dentist gave out toothbrushes. I secretly liked the toothbrushes, too, but never told my friends, since they were like “ugh! a toothbrush!” That’s pretty much the only neighborhood we’d hit, and return home with buckets and pillowcases stuffed full of candy.

My mom or dad would go through all of our Halloween goodies, and from then on, we could eat them however we’d like. Our buckets of candy were in the pantry, and we knew that a sweet treat was ready and waiting for us. For the first couple of nights, we’d take advantage of it and eat chocolate until it gave us stomachaches, but after those initial candy gorges, it wasn’t too difficult to space it out. I don’t ever remember finishing all of my Halloween candy… I’d eventually get sick of it, and it would end up in the trash.

I’ve heard a lot of different methods in families when it comes to Halloween candy, or treats in general. Some families allow a little bit of candy, and take the rest away, others allow a certain amount each day, and so on. One of girls I used to teach at the dance studio (and babysat) was only allowed one sweet treat each day. We went out for dinner, and I asked her if she wanted to share a pizookie, and she said “no thank you, Miss Gina, I’ve had my sweet treat for the day already.”

Now, I’m not trying to get too ahead of myself here, as the little lady hasn’t even been born yet, but pretty soon it will be execution instead of theory. Since tomorrow is Halloween, I can’t help but wonder what our own candy situation will be like.

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We really want our little girl to have a healthy relationship with food. There won’t be any “good” or “bad” foods in our house, but she’ll learn which foods make you feel good and contribute to your health, and others that are just delicious to eat but have very little nutritional benefit. We’ve agreed that we’ll keep the same foods that we always have, with some kid-friendly versions in there (Annie’s makes fantastic kid-friendly snacks). I’d like my baby to eat as healthily as possible, but at the same time, I feel like every kid needs some confetti cake or chicken nuggets in their life. I don’t want her to grow up and feel like she has to experience all of the foods she was never allowed to have in her childhood, and let her find her own balance.

I’ve also heard that kids eat the food that they see the parents eating, so if that’s the case, she’ll like green smoothies, oatmeal, salmon, goat cheese, and pizookies 😉

If you trick-or-treated when you were younger, what was your family’s candy policy like? Did they help you moderate, or let you have full reign? How did your parents influence your eating habits today?

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73 Comments

  1. Ashley on October 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I think I was allowed to eat it whenever, although I only remember wanting the reese’s and nothing more. So, maybe my dislike of all other candies contributed to me not eating very much candy? For all foods, my mom let me eat whatever I wanted, and I think that made me not have issues with food. Of course, sometimes it wasn’t the healthiest foods, but I learned :).

  2. Heather on October 31, 2011 at 11:47 am

    When I was a kid, my mom was doing Jane Fonda and cabbage soup diets and from the earliest age, I remember feeling guilty about certain foods. For my Grandma, mom and aunt, skinny = pretty. I had chubby cheeks that I HATED . Looking back at my childhood pictures, I was A-dorable. I just wish the little girl in the pictures knew that.

    I do not want my children to inherit my issues with food that I still find myself battling today. I have thought long and hard about this, and I think more than anything kids take on their parents relationship with food. I plan to live by example and not worry about the rest.

    p.s. I’m pretty sure that’s the cutest baby bump. EVER! I can’t stand it 🙂

    • Stephanie on October 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      I hear you on this. I don’t think my parents ever intended to make me feel guilty, but weight issues run in my family, so they were always really in tune to how much, what, and when I was eating. And I realize now I definitely binged for years (even to the point of hiding food). I definitely think I’d have done better by example.

  3. Andrea on October 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    When I was growing up, after Halloween my mom would let my brother and I each keep 15 pieces of the candy. The rest was given to “The Great Pumpkin” (a la Charlie Brown), who we were told would then give this remaining candy to little kids who weren’t as fortunate and didn’t get to go Trick or Treating like we did. We put our remaining candy in a plastic pumpkin in the kitchen, and in the morning received a little treat (e.g. a barbie) for doing something nice and sharing our candy with kids who didn’t get any. It made it fun cuz we spent HOURS choosing our 15 pieces, all the while helping teach us moderation without even knowing it! It also taught us to share and do something nice for other kids who weren’t as lucky as we were. Might sound a bit controversial that we received a toy for doing this, but looking back I always just thought of it as a “thank you” from the kids who got the rest of my candy.

  4. Natasha on October 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    My children LOVE spinach smoothies, including my 12 month old. She has one for breakfast with me just about every day. But my older two (ages 10 and 8) also get their share of candy. They eat all they want on Halloween, then are allowed to save 5 or 10 pieces and the rest is “traded” in…this year my son is trading his for Vibram 5 Finger shoes and my daughter is trading her candy in for a pair of Tom’s shoes. This is what works best for us.

  5. Natasha on October 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    that should have said ages 10 and 8

  6. Tasha on October 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I wasn’t allowed to eat candy (especially chocolate) as a kid. The reason being was because 1) it gives us more cavities which our parents have to pay to fix and 2) There’s no nutritional value to it. I think our family just wasn’t big on sugar, and it was partially the reason why I wasn’t allowed to have it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling kids that they can’t eat candy, I don’t think that it caused me to have any food issues.

    One method that my old manager used worked really well with her kids. She gave them each a ziploc bag, and told them that they could fit whatever candy they wanted to into the baggie (the baggie must zip too). After that, any other candy would need to be donated. And each day, they were allowed to have one piece of candy from the bag.

  7. chrissy on October 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    my parents inspect my bucket and then let me have at it:) i loved that philosophy. i was a healthy active kid though. i also rarely had cavities! maybe two? three?

  8. Dani on October 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Great topic!! My parents never monitored my candy intake as a child… I think my mom had a bit of a sweet tooth and unfortunately (other than in school during health class), it was never really instilled in me that junk food was… well, junk. I really credit the healthy blogging world with teaching me how to eat healthy food that still tastes good!

  9. Emily on November 1, 2011 at 12:01 am

    My sister and I got to have as much on Halloween night as we wanted but we never really ate much… we were more into sorting and counting it : ) After Halloween it got hidden somewhere by my mom. If we wanted a piece we could have it but it was kept out of sight. We totally forgot about it by November 3rd every year. We were ice cream girls anyway.

  10. ecoprincess on November 1, 2011 at 4:32 am

    I’ve had a lot of issues with food that I’ve had to try (still trying now!) to overcome and I think a lot of that is related to my parents attitude to food when we were growing up. I don’t blame them for it, but I think if they had taken a more laid back approach like a lot of my friends parents who don’t have food issues now, then things would have been different for me. My sisters have similar issues too. When I have children, I hope I can make things different for them. Words like “fat” and “skinny” will be banned from our house, and there will be no good or bad foods. Like you, I will just try to teach them everything in moderation!

  11. kristi on November 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    We have an insane amount of candy from 2 parties, a zoo event and actual trick or treating (with a lot of the candy we bought to hand out leftover because we didn’t get many kids). So, the kids have had a couple of pieces each night since the festivities started last week and some last night. Today we went through the candy and they were each able to fill one of those small pumpkin buckets full and will probably have a piece or two every night after dinner until it’s gone. The rest is being donated to 2 different places: the county sheriff’s office, who will then send it to the troops overseas, and the church where our co-op preschool is housed, who is hosting a traveling shelter for a week in December and will hand some out to the people in need after serving them dinner.

  12. Maria on November 2, 2011 at 5:30 am

    My dad looked thru our candy and then let us do whatever we wanted with it. I never had a cavity when I was a kid, or any other health problems. I am glad we where allowed to just eat our candy at our own pace, and not have to stress out about it.

  13. Noora on November 4, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I couldn’t help thinking about this article when I saw this video – it’s hilarious.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_YQpbzQ6gzs

    But yeah, I think every child should have the option to eat some treats every once in a while. If they get everything in moderation, they are less likely to go overboard with the junk food later on in life. More often than not, too strict rules lead to problems.
    It was so adorable to see these two little boys (perhaps 4-5 years old) at the candy aisle, thinking about what they would buy with the 0,50€ their mother gave them. For a second I though “wow, 0,50€, that’s nothing”, but then I remembered what it was like being a kid. A 0,30€ candy bar could be a dream come true! And at the same time the boys were learning how to deal with money, as well as social skills when trying to reach a consensus.

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