In years past, I couldn't wait to get rid of my kids' Easter candy. As soon as the Easter eggs were found and opened, the baskets unpacked, and the plastic grass sucked up by the vacuum, I would sneak the majority of the stash into a bag that I sent to work with my husband the next day. I figured it was a win-win: I wouldn't be tempted by the pile of chocolate eggs and I wouldn't have to deal with my kids asking for marshmallow Peeps for breakfast.
Then two things happened: My kids got old enough to notice that 95 percent of their jellybeans suddenly went missing. And I decided that getting rid of the stash wasn't teaching them anything—except that mom and dad can't be trusted around their candy.
Getting rid of the candy may seem like an easy solution. But there are some risks. If your child catches on that you'll secretly abscond with their candy, they may start gorging on it whenever they get access to it. Or they may start sneaking it or hiding it in their rooms.
Truth is, most kids love sweets. We can't blame them—but we can help them manage it. The Easter stash is a great tool to do that. The lesson you want to teach is that we don't eat candy all day long. Instead, we find a place for it within the day or the week. And it doesn't matter if they eat the chocolate egg in the morning, in their lunchbox, or after dinner (so go ahead and let your kids choose). What matters is that they eat a whole lot more fruits, vegetables, and other foods than they do candy.
When kids are trusted with their Easter candy—when the threat is gone that it will somehow vanish overnight—they can relax around it and work within the healthy boundaries. When I stopped sneaking away my kids' candy, I was surprised how well they handled it. They didn't raid their stash when I wasn't looking. In fact, my older son still has part of a solid chocolate bunny from last Easter. I've also discovered a perk to not "relocating" my kids' candy: They happily share it with me!
That said, I also know that the volume of Easter candy can be overwhelming (my kids haul in six Easter baskets' worth of candy between the two of them). So try to scale back by focusing on non-food items in baskets, like sidewalk chalk, bubbles, coloring books, paperbacks, crayons, and swim goggles, and asking grandparents to do the same. Fill plastic eggs with erasers, stickers, temporary tattoos, coins, or coupons for special treats like a movie night or an extra book at bedtime.
How do YOU handle Easter candy?
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. She collaborated with Cooking Light on Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then loads it again.