Today we took our daughters to an egg hunt at a special farm which had a petting zoo, a tractor ride, a horse drawn carriage ride, pony rides and an Easter Bunny for pictures. The egg hunt consisted of buckets filled with colorful eggs. Some hunt that was! Each child carefully selected 12 eggs and then took a tractor ride to a separate location where they received an egg containing a ticket they could redeem for an even bigger prize. She received a goody bag full of chocolate, plus my husband and I were both given a small bag of chocolate eggs. What were her eggs full of you ask? Each and every egg contained 3-4 of these same small chocolate eggs. Over all we had a nice family experience, and our 4 year old enjoyed the activities and the adventure of it all. But I was left feeling discouraged as I was forced to take on the role of candy distributor. “Mom, can I have another chocolate egg?” was all that I heard the whole way home.
Don't depair chocoholics, I did let her have a few eggs, but it left me wondering, what’s this teaching her about holidays? Why have all of our holidays become an excuse to eat candy? And what in the world am I going to do bags and bags of these little chocolate eggs?! I feel wasteful throwing them out but I certainly don’t want them all ending up in her belly.
Let’s talk sugar for a minute. You know I don’t advocate diets or deprivation, and I’m a big believer in moderation is key, but I also believe that knowledge is POWER. If you’re going to partake in a “sometimes” food over an “always” food (as we call them in our house) then do so with awareness of the consequences. I’m going to share an excerpt of my Sugar Blues class with you. Sugar Blues is all about understanding your crazy cravings and reducing or eliminating your sugar dependence naturally. Check out our events page for more information about when the next class is coming to an area near you.
Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream almost immediately after consumption. Our bodies like to maintain a nice, stable environment. So when our blood sugar levels spike, we might be feeling a temporary mood or energy boost. Or, conversely, we could be feeling jittery, nauseous or a headache coming on. Either way, our stable environment is long gone and our bodies are shouting out “Emergency! All hands on deck!” So the brain sends a message to the pancreas, saying “Hurry up and do something!” and the pancreas is a horrible guess-timator so it just releases its entire store of insulin at once. The insulin sweeps through the blood stream acting as the key to unlock the cells to take in all of the sugar. Now our bodies are in another emergency state. We got rid of the toxic sugar overdose situation but now we’re dealing with all of this insulin running loose in our bodies and our blood sugar levels have crashed. We’re feeling exhausted. We’re feeling cranky. We’re feeling sick. And we’re feeling HUNGRY. You know that feeling? So you’re left rushing to eat whatever is around, and unfortunately in our go, go, go world, it’s usually something quick and simple like another candy bar or a granola bar full of sugar, or maybe even a soda from the local convenience store or vending machine, and the vicious cycle just continues.
It’s awfully hard to avoid sugar and candy in our day and age, and I’m a firm believer that making any food totally and completely off limits creates a lot of psychological needs to have that item, especially for little ones as they grow and experience more freedoms. So it’s okay to have a little candy now and then, but what do you do with the rest of it when you feel bombarded?
In our house, we try to take a preventative approach and keep as much out as possible. Out of sight, out of mind! We focus on fruits and veggies. Wouldn’t baby carrots be cute from the Easter Bunny? How about some delicious Clementines? Also, in our baskets you’ll often find neat trinkets, books, maybe an article of clothing, bubbles, and craft supplies. This year our older daughter is getting a basketful of socks and undies! (Is that weird? I know she’ll be excited because she has a special love for socks and she has been wanting new undies in a bigger size.) Of course, it's also wonderful to emphasize and focus on the TRUE meaning of a holiday, whatever that means for your family.
But what about when you just can’t avoid candy without being the evil Grinch parent? Give them a few. It just makes bad associations for needing those foods later. If I have the choice I encourage ‘healthier’ candy options over less healthy ones, such as dark chocolate over gummies which get stuck in your teeth. On that note, it’s also important to practice good oral hygiene, and food for thought: I know of a philosophy amongst dentists that claims that eating large amounts of candy over a few days is better than doling out a few pieces daily for months as that continued exposure is worse for your teeth than the larger doses. As for how that fares for the rest of he body… I’ll leave you to make your own assumptions.
Okay, I'll confess. I do weed out the stock and throw some away. I also give some away to others who are willing to make the blood sugar sacrifice. I've even heard of offering to pay your children for their stash or offering them a trade, which could be a healthy financial lesson. Younger children might forget about it if you hide it. But what happens when you you've exhausted these options? Well, have some fun with it!! There are SO many candy experiments out there that allow you and your child to share an exciting educational experience while keeping excess sugar out of their (and your!) susceptible tummies. Here are some links so that you can get some ideas and start this new holiday tradition (just think… only 6.5 more months until Halloween!)
This is a great site with tons of basic ideas and this is the blog of the woman who started the candy experiment movement.
Do you have an Easter favorite you feel like you couldn’t live with out? (I can hear my mother and sister yelling “Peeps!” at their screens.) What are you favorite ways to get rid of your holiday candy stashes?
Wishing you a Happy Easter full of delicious fun!
Carolyn Richardson is a professional health coach certified by from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the AADP. She helps her clients to feel happier, healthier and better by creating a customized plan for them using small manageable nutrition and lifestyle enhancements which lead to lifelong health, wellness and success! No diets or deprivation required. Carolyn brings not only her in depth training and professional experience to her coaching clients, she also brings her personal experience of being a busy mom raising a growing family. She enjoys working with people from all walks of life but specializes in working with families, moms and pregnant women helping them to give their little ones the healthiest start possible. Carolyn lives with her husband, their two daughters and their family dog in New Hampshire. Carolyn is available to meet in person in the Concord area of New Hampshire or by phone anywhere in the world. Can you imagine how great it would feel if you finally accomplished your health and wellness goals? Check out Carolyn's amazing transformational programs on www.VibrantHealthCounseling.com and schedule a free breakthrough stategy session ($95 value!) to find out how to go from exhausted to exhilarated now!