Monday, November 1, 2010

One of our choices...

I love sugar.  Seriously, I crave sugar the way that some people want an alcoholic beverage after a stressful day at work.  And while I won't ever pass up a bag of movie theater popcorn (with butter flavoring), even that is all that much better when paired with Junior mints or Red Vines.

Today is a tough one for me.  It's the day after Halloween - the day when there is candy all over our house, just waiting to be eaten. I always buy way too much for trick-or-treaters because I have a terrible fear of running out early in the evening.  SO that's all sitting there.  Then the boys went out last night and came home with small bucketfuls of the sticky stuff, too. What I want to do is run home after work and inhale the peanut butter cups and Butterfingers and Kit Kats.

But what I am going to do is stay for my after school meeting and try to be content with an apple.

Healthy eating is one of the choices we are trying to make as a family.  For us, that means meals made of lots of vegetables with protein (both animal and other) and a few whole grains.  We aren't strict about any one type of diet, but seek moderation and variety.  We're love the occasional cheeseburger and fries, and for us we define occasional as once a month. There aren't foods we don't eat, but we seek them out in forms as close to their original format as much as possible.  And yes, I'm on the avoid corn syrup, too much soy, and artificial colors bandwagon.

So, Halloween candy presents a challenge.  How do we deal with the influx of all these things we try and avoid?

Last year we tried the rationing approach.  Each boy could choose a piece after dinner if they ate the "required elements".  It worked fairly well - but I didn't love that they felt that a meal wasn't complete without candy.  And it went on for a couple of months.

This year we are going to try something different. Since our goal is that the boys will learn how to make healthy choices for themselves, we are going to give them a little more freedom with their candy stash in two ways:
            1. Tonight I'm buying candy. Ten cents for each piece.  This money can be taken to the store to buy a toy of their choice.
            2. They may eat as much as they want tonight.

Tomorrow the candy goes away.  I haven't yet decided where "away" is - while it's a powerful motivator for my students, I don't really want them eating garbage any more than I want my own kids eating it. More than likely it will be sent with my husband to work. But the most important thing is that it is out of our house.  Our time with it is limited and special, without being forbidden.

Will it work?  I don't know.  But it does match our goals - promoting healthy, balanced eating in a simple manner.  Special occasions are treated as such - we celebrate them, then move back to values of our daily lives.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the "great candy pile"!  Feel free to leave a comment - what do you do?  What works well for your children?  How do find balance with the mountain of sweets?

Or, as always, am I over-thinking it?

1 comment:

  1. I think you got it so right! I struggled too because while I want to encourage healthy choices and indulgence in moderation, I don't want them to feel deprived of the Halloween experience. So I'm letting the older ones take a piece in their lunch each day until it's gone, and I'm doing my part by eating as much of it as I can when they're not looking, lol! I thought about the cash for candy idea and didnt' follow through. Next year though I'm running with it - you've convinced me!