Dear Bundoo: Help! We have too much candy!
This week in Dear Bundoo, one mom wants advice on how to handle all that Halloween candy.
My husand and I are pretty strict about what our 3-year-old is allowed to eat, especially when it comes to candy. We’ve read in many places that children develop a taste for sugar early in life and after that, all they want is to eat more sugar. I agree with people who say that sugar is addictive. This is normally fine because we’re planning to home school her and our house is a sugar-free zone. But this Halloween, her Grandma took her trick-or-treating and of course gave her tons of candy afterward, and now there’s a huge bowl of candy on the counter. What do you think? I really don’t want her to have all that candy, but now that it’s an issue, I’m afraid if we throw it out, it’ll be a problem in the family (she’s been checking on the bowl daily), and I’d feel weird literally taking candy away from my own baby. What should we do?
Dear Candy Grinch,
How wonderful that you are so committed to your child’s health and nutritional needs. I certainly agree that children who are introduced to sugar early in life can develop a sweet tooth, leading to obesity later in life. Healthy eating from the beginning can promote good habits down the road, leading to a lifetime of good health.
With that being said, sometimes strictly prohibiting something from a child can backfire. A child who is never allowed to eat candy could very likely end up overindulging once she is old enough to make food choices on her own. As with most things in life, moderation is the key to developing healthy eating habits.
Perhaps you could compromise and let your daughter pick a certain number of pieces she can eat and the rest can disappear. There are even places you can donate the candy. There are collection sites that send leftover candy to troops overseas or donate it to homeless shelters. You could use this opportunity to teach your child from an early age about giving back to other people in need, taking the focus off the candy and turning it into a life lesson.
Answered by Kristie Rivers, MD, FAAP, Bundoo Pediatrician
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