When my children were younger, I always worried that they would get sick from eating too much candy after trick or treating. I wondered – how much candy is too much? And, should I be firm and ration the candy they’d collected? . . . or was it okay if I let them binge? Here’s what a hundred-year-old home economics textbook says:
Small children are better without candy, but it may be used by older persons if it is eaten in reasonable amounts. Candy is more easily digested at the end of a meal than between meals. Candy contains a large proportion of sugar, and sugar when eaten alone is irritating to the digestive organs.
Elementary Home Economics (1921) by Mary Lockwood Edwards
26 thoughts on “Should Children Eat Candy? One Hundred-Year-Old Advice”
My mother dealt with the issue with a single caution: “Remember. If you eat that all now, you won’t have any for later.”
Your mother had a wonderful way with words. I wish that I’d thought of her explanation when my children were younger.
I rarely bought my kids candy, the occasional treat or holiday special, but on Halloween I did what my mom did, I let them have their stash. What I found was they sort of binged on their favorite things for a day or two, then it went uneaten until I had to toss it away months later! Same as when I was a kid!
I had similar experiences with my children. They definitely preferred some types of candy over others.
Except in the case of Peanut M&Ms. No rules apply when it comes to Peanut M&Ms.
When handing candy out to trick or treaters, I always save the Peanut M&Ms and Peanut Butter Cups until last, and keep my finger crossed that there will be a few left for me.
Oddly, I do not like peanut butter cups or peanut butter M&Ms, but leave me in a room along with the peanut ones, and I am a force to be reckoned with.
Growing up, I remember eating lots of candy and we always had dessert. Fortunately, none of us are obese or diabetic. I did limit my own children’s sweets and soda.
Maybe kids just were so active back then that they were able to eat lots of candy with few negative effects.
Think kids would rather test consumption on their own, rather than succumbing to rationale. Then and now.
I think you are right – and Halloween only comes around once a year, so it’s probably not worth worrying about the candy consumption.
Agree! Unless out of control
Even though I’m old, I wouldn’t want to restrict candy to adults only. My brother and I were allowed to eat what we wanted of our Halloween candy. This was a dentist’s household, so it was the only time we had candy in the house. Believe me, we spaced it out!
Wow, Halloween would have been really special if that was the only time you got candy.
We may have been given a Hershey bar from time to time, but candy was not really available for my brother and me. We each got a small allowance, so possibly we could have spent it on candy. I was too much of a tightwad to do that.
Candy was a treat. My sisters would blow through their Halloween candy in a matter of days. I always rationed and traded to get what I liked (licorice was a favorite). I could trade a single tootsie roll for nearly all the licorice jelly beans in their bags! It also made my candy unattractive to possible candy thieves! I’d make it last until Christmas… The only rules that were imposed were that you had to brush your teeth after indulging and if you ate any before dinner you still had to clean your plate. We let our sons have as much as they wanted which usually resulted in a frenzy of activity for maybe an hour and then they’d have a crash and nap for several hours (blessed quiet!)
It’s fun to read about how you traded candy with your siblings – and how different individuals preferred different types of candy.
As a child I was allergic to corn syrup. It was an ingredient in many candies, so I learned to read labels at a young age.
Whew – A corn syrup allergy would have really reduced the candy options.
Oh man, my mother in law, lol. When I got married my husband had a younger brother with Downs Syndrome. I didn’t realize how he ate until after we moved in with his mom for a while. After he came home from school his mother would sit him down with a sandwich, a candy bar, and some pop. Made my teeth ache, and I liked sweets! I guess they wanted him to have what he wanted as they felt he wouldn’t live to be very old. He outlived both his parents and my husband and died at 54. He lived with us after his mom died, about 20 some years, and I put him on a much more sensible diet.
Your brother-in-law was very fortunate to have you. It’s wonderful that he lived into his mid-fifties in spite of health issues.
I agree about the candy. Fortunately my son wasn’t much of a candy eater.
I, on the other hand, loved oodles of sweet-treats at any age. 😉
I always hoped that my children won’t like some of the candies they brought home after trick or treating so that I could eat it.
I never had candy as a kid except at Halloween and Easter. I have no idea why I grew up to love it so much.
Sweets can be a nice treat.
That’s how they were for me as a kid.