Every parent is guilty of indulging their child at some point. Lots of sweets, maybe a few too many extra minutes before bed or even technology, sometimes we all give in. And, really, you can’t hold the reins too tightly. Some days, you just give in a little bit more.
However, there is a line between an occasional indulgence and an all-out unhealthy dose of spoiling. While some psychologists maintain that parents need a healthy dose of ‘no’ in a child’s life especially when spoiling relates to material items, the health benefits of indulging kids in all the wrong types of foods also bears a heavy weight.
So where is that line?
Health and rewards for kids – finding a balance
Obesity—especially in childhood—is a grave concern in the public health sector. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that obesity affects more than 12 million children. And, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, obesity is linked to many factors including eating habits, not getting enough exercise, a family history of obesity, self-esteem issues, depression and even medical conditions.
While the occasional sweet treat or drive-thru kids meal won’t automatically result in obesity, a habit of indulging in these foods will increase the risk. Parents shouldn’t use foods as a reward for their children; while kids can enjoy sweet treats, they shouldn’t be taught that a behavior is rewarded with sweets. However, some holidays are laced with candy and yummy treats, and parents also shouldn’t feel that they have to say ‘no’ to every cookie, piece of candy or dessert. Moderation is always the goal.
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In the world of fast-food, junk food and processed treats, check out a sweet guide on what to choose when offering kids a sugary indulgence.
Dark vs. Milk Chocolate
Self magazine is all about dark chocolate! When kids crave a bite of chocolate opt for the dark! Yes, it’s a little bitter, but even the kid-favorite confectioners make yummy dark chocolate bars that kids will love! So why is dark better than milk chocolate? Dark chocolate is chock full of antioxidants which help lower the risk of heart disease and also decreases blood pressure.
The Best of the Candy Shell
Fruity candy shelled chewy candies or chocolate filled? The best choice, according to Real Simple, is chocolate filled. Those sugary fruity chewy shelled candies quickly kick out lots of sugar into the blood, making kids have an immediate sugar high…then a crash. Stick with the chocolate candies when reaching for shelled crunchy goodness.
Gummy bears are actually not the worst treat to give kids. They aren’t super loaded with sugar, but they will stick in the teeth. Just make sure kids brush well after a handful of those tasty bears!
Trekking for Sweets!
Trek mix is the perfect blend of sweet and salty. Packed with high-protein nuts and little bits of sweet chocolate or fruit, kids get both the health benefits of nuts with a little bit of candy indulgence. Trek mix provides a sweet snack without all the empty calories.
While overindulgence in the wrong types of foods can lead to obesity, limiting sugar-laden and processed foods helps children learn to make good food choices. However, every kid will crave a sugary indulgence now and then, and some candies are better than others for those sweet moments. Dark chocolate is the best choice, but when kids really want to dip into the candy-shelled bite-sized sweets, make sure they choose chocolate candies over fruity flavors. However, food is not a reward…and sweet treats and even healthy treats shouldn’t be used to bribe, reward or pacify kids. Eat healthy, eat when hungry and to nourish the body…but indulge in moderation!