Family Life


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Raising Davis: Junk Food – Friend or Foe?

Candy bowls are overflowing during special holidays at working mom Meghan Bradley’s house, but closely guarded the rest of the year.

Junkfood 1 - raising davis: junk food - friend or foe?I am hit by cupid on Valentine’s Day, enchanted by Easter and crazy about Christmas. I love holidays!

The decor, the anticipation, the food and especially the treats. Holidays feel like a licence to buy chocolates and other goodies. When my shopping cart heads down the seasonal aisle at the local store, and I see the sweet offerings specific to an upcoming holiday, I get very excited. I remember how my mother loved her holidays and I definitely got my enthusiasm from her. For Valentine’s, she put up big paper hearts and red cut-out cupids. She would fill candy bowls with red cinnamon hearts and jelly beans and set the table with white doilies. Easter, Christmas and for that matter, St. Paddy’s Day followed suit with their matching decor and full candy bowls. In our house, Halloween is the worst. We still have leftovers in August from Halloween the year before. Partly because I buy too much candy and there are always leftovers, and partly because my kids know how to hit a lot of houses!
The accumulation of my candy-filled holiday obsession is a bin full of chocolates. All of the excessive chocolates and sweets that have been left over from the previous holiday live in a big blue Rubbermaid bin. Davis knows the bin well. We keep it on a high shelf in the storage area of our basement. Paul and I were going for the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. It didn’t work. Davis often asks if he can have one of the treats from the bin in his lunch, and sometimes he can. He will remember the treat bin after he has cleared his plate and eaten his vegetables – and sometimes he is allowed a treat then, too. Mostly, the after-dinner dessert of choice is fruit cups, yogurt or pudding.

Treats are doled out based on what Davis has consumed on any given day. If he had a decent day – for example, a breakfast with cereal and fruit, tuna sandwich for lunch and chicken and vegetables for dinner, then a little treat at the end of the day is okay. But some days I have to decline the request for the bin. Those are the days he eats sugary cereal for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch at the daycare or kids’ menu chicken fingers or pizza for dinner.

Then there are the days where all accountability is out the window! I won’t count how many Easter eggs Davis gobbles up while he is enjoying his egg hunt. Christmas stocking sweets are fair game and anything worth celebrating has cake. This is likely not the best plan for managing sweets, but it is what happens in our home and will likely continue. Halloween is fast-approaching and my heart is already pounding faster just thinking about the trips to the pumpkin farm, picking out the perfect costume, black and orange decorations and that turn down the grocery aisle when the mini chocolate bars make their first appearance.

My mom made holidays special and I am keeping the tradition alive. I will keep the candy bowls overflowing and if there is some left over, there’s always room in the bin!

Junkfood 4 - raising davis: junk food - friend or foe?

Published in August 2010

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