Pl. Eeeeeeeeeese. With a Cherry on Top?

Child whining

How many times has your toddler burst into a beg-whine only to have you, well, begging for some wine? Whining of any kind can grate on a mama’s nerves, but it’s the persistent whine after you’ve said no to a sweet treat that can really send the mellowest mama into orbit. Not that I’ve been there.

The good news is you are not Barbie, which means you actually can put your foot down! The bad news is if you dig in your heels too much – or in the wrong way – talk of sweets will turn sour in seconds.

You see, when it comes to dessert and sweets, you have to be a clever cupcake. And by doing so, I mean you have to change your thinking a bit if you grew up with adults who:

  • Offered something sweet as a reward for achievements: good grades, a home run in baseball or a clean room.
  • Doled out dessert only after all the food on your plate was tucked in your tummy.
  • Created the idea that sweets only coincide with celebration.


The problem with these three examples is that each, in its own way, leads to picky or emotional eating: I got an award at school today; I deserve to have something yummy. I don’t like green beans; why can’t I still have dessert? I got picked last for kick ball; at least some ice cream will make me feel a little better.

Not. Good.

So do your kids a double-scoop favor and don’t give sweets so much power. Instead, level the playing field and offer the cookie with the meal. It just may mean the difference between a child who appreciates a treat and one who relies on one. Plus, this kind of thinking is bound to leave an impression on your kid for when he’s raising his own little ankle biter. And that, healthy mama, is one syrupy sweet thought.

Did you grow up getting sweet foods as a reward? Are you ready to demote the sweets in your family? Tell us in the comments about your experience with sweets and what you plan to do with your family.

Limiting Halloween Candy Isn’t Ghoulish

pillowcase full of candy

Eating candy is part of being a kid. At Halloween, I remember dragging pillowcases home FULL of candy! We had tons of fun sorting through the mountain of treats to find our favorites. In my house, you got to choose a handful of favorites and then your sugary loot was replaced with cold hard cash before Halloween was even over. Here’s more ideas for swapping out candy.

Letting kids who are two and half years and older enjoy a few pieces of sugary candy is not a big deal. Kids younger than two and half years old do not need candy. They don’t know what it is yet and they don’t quite understand what it means to enjoy in moderation.

For preschoolers and older, it’s important our kiddos learn how to enjoy candy ever so often. If you completely restrict candy, your kids will want more, more and MORE.

So, what’s the big deal with letting your kiddos eat all their Halloween candy?

Here’s a silly, but illuminating way to think about it (sing it in a child’s voice to really drive it home!):

  • After one night of Halloween candy, my tummy kind of ached.
  • After two nights of Halloween candy, my behavior surely tanked.
  • After three nights of Halloween candy, I really can’t sleep.
  • After four nights of Halloween candy, I start to feel weak. (Sugar lowers our body’s immune response making it easier to get sick!)
  • After five nights of Halloween candy, I’m really feeling ill. (Uh-oh! Coughs, sniffles, sore throats may start to appear.)
  • After six nights of Halloween candy, I’m craving sugar like a pill!

crying sick child

Got the picture? After loads of Halloween candy you’ve officially got yourself a little sugar addict who might be sick, tired, cranky and NO FUN at all!

Halloween can be so much more fun than just an excuse to gorge on candy. Dressing up in costumes is a favorite pastime, watching age-appropriate scary movies, visiting haunted houses and carving pumpkins are activities American families look forward to all summer.

Just because some of us grew up gorging on Halloween candy, doesn’t make it healthy. Heck, I used to ride in the back of my Dad’s pick-up truck without a seat, never mind a seatbelt.

Tell us about your healthy Halloween traditions? How will you deal with all the candy?






Halloween Haunt: When Gooey Candy Makes You Shudder

October 31st is just around the corner. And if having all that candy around the house is a tad bit frightening, you’re not alone.

Sad Halloween Jack o lantern

You see statistics say that sugar is four times more addictive than cocaine. That’s pretty powerful stuff considering sugar is in everything from butternut squash to burritos. And the worst part is that sugar lives inconspicuously in the things that appear to be healthy – fruit cups and granola bars – and masks itself deep within pretty packaging featuring kids hiking up a mountain. (Sorry, Cliff.)

So if the thought of all that caramel and chocolate has you feeling stuck on what to do, take heart, healthy mama. You’re in control of how much candy your child consumes, and here are some things you can try without being too much of a, ahem, witch this Halloween.

1. Buy the candy back.

Older kids especially love this, so don’t be ghoulish and just raise the offering if you think it’ll make the difference!

2. Call your dentist.

Ask if younger children can trade in their candy for temporary tattoos, stickers, a shiny new toothbrush or a trinket from the treasure chest.

3. Introduce the Switch Witch.

Unlike the tooth fairy, this chick rides in on a broomstick, scoops up the candy bag and leaves a cool toy in its place.

4. Gradually throw it out.

Think of it as the heels of bread or the ends of an onion, and just toss all but a few pieces. This is the best option if your little pumpkin is three and under.

Don’t worry — with you as his mummy, your child is not going to walk around in a zombie state from all the candy he’s eating. Simply brew up a plan before the big night and you’ll dodge a sticky situation. I promise.

Want more tips for a candy free Halloween? Check out my Candy Free Halloween Pinterest Board.

How will you avoid the sugar battle with your kids this Halloween season? We want to know your tips and tricks! Tell us in the comments.