Easter Candy Overload, Tips for coping with kids and sugar!

Posted by Becca on 4/18/2014 to Green Living

Candy and the Holidays

easter Is it just me? Am I the only one who cringes every time a holiday comes near and I know my daughter is going to be given massive amounts of tooth­ decaying, diabetes­ inducing, chemical­ laden, metabolism­ killing candy? I hope not. There are so many holidays that have been commercialized that as soon as I heave a deep sigh of relief about the fact that the candy from the last holiday is gone, another one is around the corner. For my daughter’s first few Easters I had the “but it’s a special occasion” mentality. I was still learning this parenting thing and I didn’t understand how everything fits together within the community of our society. I falsely assumed we were her only influences. I didn’t buy a lot of candy ourselves, but made sure we had the traditional peeps, jelly beans, and chocolate bunny. I didn’t want to deprive her of any essential American traditions. When others gave her candy as well, I was sort of confused. Somehow, I hadn’t anticipated that. As she grew older, I slowly came to the stark realization that I wasn’t the only one giving my daughter candy and presents and we weren’t the only one controlling these types of influences. They were coming from EVERYWHERE!!! As one year and then another went by, the candy from each holiday would stretch out until the next holiday to the point that candy wasn’t really a special occasions thing anymore, but a day­to­day thing.

easter So last year, I decided to try to change that. It was at Easter that I made the decision to actively try to control the intake of sweets. I still gave her some candy in her basket, just a little because I couldn’t stop myself from buying the peeps and chocolate eggs that I’d grown to associate with the holiday (I have a sugar problem myself, which is half the battle!). However, we decided to do our family Easter egg hunt sans candy. I went to the dollar section at Target and found tiny little things with which to fill the eggs—hair bows, little figurines, stickers, socks, doll house trinkets, ribbons, bracelets, necklaces, crayons, bouncy balls, and more. We also filled half the eggs with spare pocket change that she could add to the money she earns by doing chores. In addition, we had a set of Resurrection Eggs—a dozen eggs filled with symbols that represent the passion of Christ such as nails, a stone, a cross, etc—and we went through the symbolism of each of those to give meaningful significance to the egg hunting tradition. If the Easter celebrations had been limited to just our immediate family, I would have been very happy with the limited intake of sugar. But then there were the grandparents—packages in the mail with chocolates and well­intended Easter baskets filled with candy—and the church Easter Egg hunt which boasted armfuls of the sugary stuff. We just shook our heads. We’d tried. What else could we do?

easter This year, I feel the frustration even more as it seems that control over my child’s diet and health spirals out of my hands with every trip to the grocery store, every Sunday school lesson, every well­meaning family member, every dance class, and every holiday she celebrates in daycare. Because I can’t control the fact that she will get candy from someone at some point for Easter, she won’t be getting any in her basket or in our family egg hunt. None at all. She will get plenty of little surprises from us so I don’t even think she’ll miss the candy. Also, if we keep this up she won’t be like me: walking through the holiday aisle at the grocery store, craving the taste of Cadbury eggs because they take her back to her childhood, and buying them simply because of the tradition stacked up over time. I decided I’m not going to accept the status quo this year. We are making new traditions. And as far as outside influences go, I can take control of her diet even then. It won’t be easy, but for her sake, it needs to happen. These are some of the things I’ve decided to do to help her out:

Tips for minimizing sugar-overdose

1) Talk to her caregivers. I didn’t want to be “that parent,” but I can’t just sit idly by while they stuff my kid full of junk from week to week. Let them know I appreciate the good will intended with the candy, but that it’s just not the kind of thing I want to be prevalent in her diet.

2) Offer healthy solutions to said care givers. I can bring in some fruit, crackers, or stickers as a substitute. When I ask said caregivers not to hand out candy, it might be helpful if I gave them the alternative instead.

3) Have items to trade available: A friend of mine is very proactive about controlling unhealthy inputs in her kids diets and she says she has other prizes that she trades for candy when it’s given to her kids. When Bunny came out of day care the other day with a bag full of Easter candy, I tried it and it worked! She gladly gave me the entire bag in exchange for a new, Frozen coloring book.

4) Set a precedent in the home. If she’s eating healthy foods at home, she’s going to develop a taste for those foods and not want the candy as much. As it is, her fruits and vegetables are the first things to go when she eats her meals. I’m really proud of that!

5) Educate her. She’s a little young to make responsible, long­term decisions such as avoiding candy on her own, but sometimes, I leave it up to her. I tell her what the candy can do to her body and her teeth, then remind her of the last treat she had, and let her make the decision herself. Usually, she chooses to take the candy when I give her this choice, but I’m hoping one day she’ll start realizing the benefits of consuming it in small doses or not at all. Eating candy at holidays is a bad habit we’ve acquired that we have to learn to break.

Like any bad habit, it will take practice to rid ourselves of it. Our efforts will be met with some failures and some successes, but in the end, if we persevere, it will be worth it. And hopefully our children’s developing little bodies will learn to crave the things that they really need to live a healthy, energetic, and productive lifestyle.


Date 4/18/2014
Every year the parents make holiday baskets for the preschoolers at my kid's headstart. They are not supposed to have candy but they are ALWAYS absolutely loaded with it. I let my child pick out a few pieces to keep and we go through it all together. The rest of it is just thrown away. I have no idea what else to do with it. It's frustrating when people can't take the hint. I think society in general is stuck on the idea of having those traditional favorite sweets and people just go waaaay overboard. My kids don't even play with 90% of the little things that get stuffed in the eggs instead of candy and we don't need any more crayons. We are swimming in them. Maybe I'm a cruel minimalist, but we get so much junk on top of the candy we receive around the holidays. I find that frustrating as well. I know that there are underprivileged kids that might not have very many things, but I don't feel like kids need to be spoiled with tons of cheap plastic toys and bouncy balls every single holiday to be happy. I have a couple good buckets full of this kind of thing after a year and I have no idea what to do with them either. Hahaha
Date 4/18/2014
Lynn Meier
I admire your pro action to cut down on candies and think the altrernatives for egg surprises are wise! I will be looking for barrettes/bows and useful items for young boys too. :)
Date 4/18/2014
Maggie M
I just got a ton of Easter candy. Only a little candy for my kids and most of the rest for me/my husband. And when I got home I thought, "why the heck did I just buy all that crap?!" You are totally right! It's habit, a bad traditional habit! And it is hard to break! But we are working on it! Thanks for these awesome tips!
Date 4/18/2014
Lara Clinton
I think it's frustrating just how much kids are given in general that is an overload -- candy, little trinkets, toys, etc. While I don't want them to live completely without treats, it is getting kind of out of hand these days.
Date 4/18/2014
Jill Shoemaker
it has gotten absolutely crazy. I've finally given myself permission to let some things hit the trash can. things like taffy or sour balls we were handing off to older friends, but i've started just immediately binning some of it too. I'm also getting better about saying, you can have one piece if you eat your dinner (note that the kids plates are not overloaded so it not like we're forcing them to eat an adult sized portion).. the kids went to a community egg hunt and then one at church. that's plenty. we wont egg hunt and we will add things like crackers in the eggs instead. I dont want easter to end up another Christmas with all the stuff involved. then again, we realize that it's baby teeth, and we do kind of say 'eh hm that's a lot of sugar'.. and so the kids are getting the lesson. the grandparents dont go overboard and they dont get a ton from anywhere else.. if it gets to be too late and there's still some floating around, I'll do a purge. no big deal.
Date 4/25/2014
Sarah Hanna
Glad my son is still too little for candy! Next year though.. :/
Date 4/25/2014
sarabeth toy
I'm sure I'll need this post next year when we have a 15 month old!
Date 4/25/2014
keilea johnson
Freeze the chocolate and save for baking. Once frozen it can be broken into baking sized bits and also mom always has chocolate on hand- higher than the kids can reach :)
Date 4/25/2014
keilea johnson
Freeze the chocolate and save for baking. Once frozen it can be broken into baking sized bits and also mom always has chocolate on hand- higher than the kids can reach :)
Date 4/25/2014
Crystal Rothgeb
This is a great article. Very informative. I'll definitely let my relatives know that my 8 month old does not need candy! Thanks for the article!
Date 4/25/2014
I asked all our family to avoid giving our kids lots of sweets. Thankfully, most were really good about it! They got books, diapers, and toys from us, and fruit squeeze pouches and baby puffs from others.
Date 4/26/2014
Kim H
We actually had no candy on Easter Day! I was amazed! We did have goody pouches that contained candy, but we didn't open them. At 2 1/2, my oldest likes candy if you give it to him, but most the time he dosen't realize what it is unless you tell him! I know it won't last long, but it's a start!
Date 5/16/2014
Great tips! This year we really cut down on the amount of candy our kids got, this blog will help for next year!
Date 6/6/2014
Kristen Pack
I asked everyone to not get my children candy. I gave them some alternatives instead, like baby puffs or applesauce squeeze pouches.
Date 8/28/2014
ashley petersen
I don't mind giving my children candy , it's apart of child hood. I make it a point not to give my kids corn syrup and red dyes. We stick to mostly chocolate 💟 I read up on it and red dyes mess with chemical balance of the brain .
Date 1/7/2015
Sarah Hayes
i hope we can avoid this pretty well this year. i dread the holidays that are overloaded with candy
Date 7/27/2015
Jilliann M
There are so many occasions for crazy amounts of candy. We went to a few birthday parties this summer with pinatas or candy bars. We come home with way too much and after a few days we just save a few pieces out and throw away the rest. I love it when there are non-candy options.

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