5 ways out of the candy trap
...because children love everything which is sweet, especially candy, chocolate and gummies. If they had their own way, they wouldn't need anything but these goodies to make them happy. Sadly, this has precious little to do with a balanced and healthy diet.
Fixed candy times or unchecked self-indulgence?
In the grandparents' day, and even when mom and dad were children, candy was a really special treat. Chocolate was only offered on special occasions, with one bar lasting several days and each little piece eaten individually and savored to the full. Today candy is commonplace and part of everyday life. There are whole shelves full of goodies in the supermarket. A bar of chocolate is easily affordable and it is not unusual for one to be polished off in a day. The earlier children can be made to internalize the message that candy is something special, the more likely it is that they will be open to persuasion that a healthy and varied diet is preferable to grazing on goodies.
Everything in moderation: nibbles and tidbits
Parents, especially of children in elementary school, can play a major role in encouraging the right eating habits because they are the ones deciding what is eaten in the home and what food is put on the table. There are also health risks associated with too many sweet treats. They have been shown to play a part in the ever more frequent incidence and increasingly early onset of childhood obesity. This is another reason why it is never too soon for parents to start watching that they are sticking to a healthy diet. ergobag has some tips which will help you to make a balanced diet as easy as child's play:
- One nibble a day is enough: how about setting a time for a candy treat? Every day at the same time the children can have a ration from the supply – this way they have something to look forward to and know that they don't have to give up chocolate and other goodies altogether. The candy time should not be just before a meal, however, as this will spoil their appetite.
- Good things come in small packages: one small chocolate bar or a small child-sized handful of gummies is quite enough for an elementary schooler with a thirst for knowledge – more than one sugar rush a day is just not necessary.
- Candy drawer: it is good to have a specific place where the supply of sweet treats is kept, from which the children can choose their favorite tidbit at the set time, as this will help to make the candy ration a fixed part of the daily routine.
- Not a substitute sticking plaster: candy is a "quick-acting" remedy when the tears start to flow – but they are not the right answer to problems, stress or pain. Using chocolate or goodies to soothe the discomfort of such feelings is giving the wrong sort of attention. Eating can become an emotional response to problems, leading to overweight and a skewed way of coping with hurt.
- Reward: food is part of life and the day-to-day routine. The same goes for candy. There are many ways to reward children for their achievements other than sweet treats. A family outing to the swimming pool, for example, will be a shared memory and bring much more pleasure in the long term.