By Melissa Breyer
The candy and kids dilemma kills me. My kids love candy, but candy’s rotten for my kids. High-fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, bovine gelatin, oh my. So I think, “Sorry girls, no candy, unh unh.”
But something about total restriction goes against my instinct–and surely enough, a New York Times article, 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make, backs me up on that one with statements such as: “A large body of research shows that if a parent restricts a food, children just want it more,” and, “Other studies show that children whose food is highly restricted at home are far more likely to binge when they have access to forbidden foods.”
So there you go. How to treat my kids to the treats they covet, without exposing them to a rainbow array of sickly sweet, and quite frankly, terrifying ingredients?
Well lucky me, by chance I stumbled upon a source for candy that meets any number of requirements: Vegan, organic, fair trade, gluten free, non-allergenic, kosher and Feingold. Imagine! The source comes from a mom-and-daughters candy team who started a Web site called NaturalCandyStore.com. It’s extra terrific because you can browse by category, and each candy is labeled with an easy-to-identify icon telling you which categories it falls under. The candy they have selected meets strict quality standards, and the good ol’ taste standard of yumminess as well.
Of course, the truly best candy is probably the candy you make at home. With that in mind I pulled these out of the Care2 recipe collection. Have fun!
Another option that I love (love, love) is Glee Gum’s make-your-own chewing gum kits. These educational kits are made to help kids connect to the global community by tracing the origins of the ingredients, specifically the natural chicle, sustainably harvested in Guatemala and Mexico. Chicle remains an important part of the economy in those countries. Additionally, the process of making the gum involves activities kids typically love: Stirring, mixing, pulling, poking, touching and tasting.
While the gum does contain pure cane sugar, its list of ingredients is long on the positives; it’s made with all-natural ingredients including rice syrup and is vegetarian, additive-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and contains no artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.