"Do you let your daughter eat Halloween candy?"
It's a really great question and it's one I hear often. It's an especially great question because it goes beyond Halloween and touches on a dilemma I struggle with not only on October 31 but also on other holidays that involve a lot of candy (basically all of them) and at birthday parties as well.
For context, my daughter is only 2 and a half so while I can't force her to eat, I do still have some control over which foods she's offered and which one's she's not. I realize this will change as she gets older and is making food choices on her own.
For now, here's my dilemma:
On one hand, I know too much about food to fool myself into thinking there's anything good about mainstream candy. First, the ingredients are baffling. Take something as seemingly harmless as a Twizzler and forget about the sugar, how do they even come up with a cherry flavor when they're mostly made from by products of corn and wheat? Second, especially because she's a child, her body is desperately trying to take anything and everything she eats and use it to help her grow. I wouldn't give her alcohol, caffeine, or anything else that would inhibit her ability to thrive - so why this?
On the other hand, I recognize that candy is part of Halloween for most kids and I don't want my daughter to rebel and resent healthy eating because she feels left out or different. And although I know the ingredients found in most candies are far from real and even further from nutritious, I also believe she'll be okay if she tries these things on occasion.
So how do I come to terms with my dilemma?
As a general rule, I don't keep anything in the house that I wouldn't want her (or any of us) to eat but if we're out at a birthday party, or trick-or-treating with friends, it's okay with me if she eats some cake or candy. The plan this Halloween is to focus on all of the other really fun things about the holiday - the costumes, the parties, the parades, the chance to run around outside with friends. And if she happens to have some candy, I won't make a big deal about it. Then when it's over, we get the candy out of our home so it's not getting in the way of better options. As she gets older, and I can no longer do this as easily, I plan to let her choose a few favorites and then get rid of the rest. I'll let you know how that goes...
What to feed your young children is a personal choice. Some people feel strongly that eating candy is part of being a kid. Others think that sugar is a drug and shouldn't be offered to children ever.
Wherever you land is where you land. We're all just trying to do the best we can, no judgment here. Just come up with a plan ahead of time so you can feel confident about whatever you do decide.
Cheers to you and Happy Halloween!