Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Treats Conundrum

I'm not sure what to do about Jacob's Halloween candy. He's got a bunch of it, a full pumpkin worth of snacks. Fruit snacks, candy bars, Sweet Tarts, and more, all waiting for him to eat it. Obviously I don't want him filling up on crap. He had one candy bar the other night and was a hyper mess (but as I mentioned, part of that might have been his super-nap earlier in the day). If he eats his dinner reasonably well, I don't have a problem with giving him a piece of candy. We're getting dangerously close to bedtime, though, so it's still a risk. And at this rate, with one piece of candy per day (if he's lucky--Jacob's not a great eater), he'll be eating Halloween candy at Christmas.

So, do we eat it? I feel bad depriving him of candy he rightfully earned, but at this point he won't really notice. We were sort of planning on eating all of the peanut butter stuff since we haven't tried peanut products with him yet and are nervous about an allergic reaction. However, maybe now's the time to give it a shot and just be ready to head to the emergency room. I'm pretty sure he's ok because we've been around peanuts before, primarily at baseball games, and he's been fine. But you just never know, especially since his cousin has an allergy. Still, I'd really love to add peanut butter sandwiches to his list of available foods. Buuuuut......I'd also really like to eat that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, too.

I also have a little guilt about knowingly feeding him food that has absolutely no nutritional value. I know he's a kid and it happens. And I know that I probably assign value to other crap foods in hopes he's getting some benefit from the few things he will routinely eat...like the calcium in pizza cheese or the protein in chicken nuggets. Heck, during the winter I often give him canned fruit for dessert, just because it's fruit. But did you know there's very little nutritional value in that stuff? I did notice that pineapple and mandarin oranges maintain a good serving of vitamin C, but that's about it. But it's fruit, right? Well, fruit devoid of nutrients and laced with BPA from the can lining. Ugh. He'll sometimes eat an apple, and he really liked clementines last year so I think we'll do well with those and oranges, but still...I try to make sure that nearly everything he eats has some sort of positive. Other than enhancing his childhood experience, candy's got nothing. I don't want to deprive him of the cool things I enjoyed as a kid--candy, sugar cereals, Kool-Aid, soda pop, Twinkies, etc.--but I tend to think we know more now about nutrition and the effects of bad eating than we did when I was a kid. Every food has very clear labeling and there's so much more education out there. While I don't want to deprive him of fun treats, I feel like a bad mom encouraging him to eat crap. I know it's not good for him and I don't want to set him up for bad habits. We should all probably give up junk food to set a good example, but heck, the mere fact that I can't fathom giving it up after eating it my whole life shows that it's a tough habit to break, and if possible, we should prevent it from ever starting.

But inevitably he'll run into bad foods in one place or another, so instead of depriving him and having him gorge later, I suppose the answer to this is the same as with most things--moderation. Let him be a kid and have some candy, but teach him to moderate himself. A couple pieces at a time, at most. That still leaves us with the issue of eating candy until Christmas, but perhaps it will teach us willpower, right?

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