It is that time of year, again, when all the candy hits the shelves at the front of the store. Unfortunately the marketing for that candy gets better and better each year. I remember a time when I thought Starburst were not bad for you because they were “fat-free”. Now I understand that “fat-free” is not the same as “chemical free.” I, as a parent, do not want my son to consume those chemicals. It is difficult to compete with marketing though, so I thought I would share a few tricks that work very well, for me.
One of Jacob’s favorite things is a trail-mix that we make him. The trail-mix includes cheerios, almonds, pretzels, raisins and peanuts. So every year, that is what we put in his Easter eggs. I have posted pictures of Jacob eating his peanuts from Easter eggs before and many people scowl at that; however, he absolutely loves it and gets so excited every time he opens an egg. Obviously, Easter is about much more than candy anyways, so we like to focus on the entire holiday.
As for the candy he gets from other Easter egg hunts, Halloween and school, we have a trade-in program. Jacob helps us count the number (math skills) of pieces of candy he received and he then “trades” his candy for Legos, which he loves more than any food! It is just a matter of teaching kids when they are young the reason why “excessive” candy is bad, and then provide them with better, healthier, options. Also, make sure you balance these healthy options, we have plenty of special events for cupcakes and ice cream. We try to make a fun event that includes getting a special treat from a place that uses real ingredients. Also, making desserts as a family is a fun way to use natural ingredients to have a special treat and they can learn something from it.
I hope that by us teaching Jacob the different types of food and what the purposes of them, he will make good dietary decisions as he gets older. It does concern me how much candy and junk food our children receive in school. I believe there should be other alternatives than candy or cake when celebrating or rewarding kids in school. I, for one, am looking forward to less “sugar crashes” after school; however, parents must agree and come together on this issue, before the schools’ will.