We are embarking on a cross-country move from Alaska to the Lower 48. This large move and small trailer to hold all of our stuff prompted a full-on embrace of the KonMari (Marie Kondo) method to all of our stuff. E V E R Y T H I N G. Per the method, we went through all of our items, one genre at a time, getting rid of things that either didn’t “bring us joy.” After this rather rigorous, time-consuming, and mind-losing (try going through all of your clothes with your three kiddos “helping” you) process, we lightened our load of household goods and had a proper place for everything in our home.
In a sense, we detoxed our home, and found we could get along just fine without the extra stuff. This has a connection to nutrition, I promise.
Enter in Easter this year. We had three social egg hunts with a surplus of candy, three solid white chocolate bunnies from family, and additional candy from our family egg hunt. There was so. much. candy. My three boys had become accustomed to having a candy treat every night. At this same time, we were potty training my middle boy. He was a bit stubborn in the beginning and the reward for going number two had climbed to two jelly beans and two Starbursts. (We were desperate after disposing of too many waste-filled undies.) So, throughout the day was a trickle of jelly beans as positive reinforcement. And, all the Easter candy. It was too much. The boys were asking for candy after every meal – including breakfast! In just two short weeks, they had become candy monsters.
We needed to KonMari our candy load, a detox if you will. I talked to them about being intentional in giving our candy habit a rest. I didn’t want to have a full-on detox for our growing and learning boys, but rather a habit reset. We regularly enjoy treats on occasion. The boys may split a KitKat when they go to Home Depot with Dad. They look forward to the DumDums they get from the sweet ladies at the bank. We celebrate birthdays, Gotcha days, anniversaries, and holidays with sweet treats too. However, when they changed their expectation of getting candy occasionally to getting it at the end of EVERY meal – I knew we needed to make an intentional change.
We started on May 1st and in just a week, my boys have adjusted their expectation of receiving candy on demand. We talked about a sugar detox and I’m surprised that the two older ones remembered it. My 6-year-old actually declined an ice cream cone at the end of a running race because he remembered we were “not having sugar.” My friend gave him an ice cream cone anyways and reassured him that this type of treat was not on the candy detox. My middle one (the one in potty training) has declined his jelly beans twice because we are “done with candy.” Wow! They do remember!
My intention with this is not to shun candy or be a family without sugar. I enjoy treats on occasion and I firmly believe there is a healthy balance between a nutritious diet and a sweet treat every once in a while. We are applying the KonMari method of detoxing the home to the abundant amount of candy we had in our pantry. The constant request for candy did not bring us joy. Since purging it, we have reset out habits and have not missed the sugar treat that became a staple so quickly in our home. Without the excess candy, we feel our load has lightened when it comes to meal time. And now, treats have their proper place in our meal routine.
Does your family need a candy or sugar detox? The answer to that question depends on many factors – but, it might be a good time to reset habits if your family has lost sight of consuming added sugar in moderation. Are sugared beverages consumed on a daily basis? Has the serving size of dessert started to increase? Are the cravings out of control? Do you buy the discounted holiday candy to “stock up” but find yourself noshing on it after the kiddos are in bed? You can start reseting your habits slowly by:
- Decreasing the daily servings of sugared beverages by one per day per week.
- Serving fresh or roasted fruit for dessert at the end of dinner.
- Depending on age, talking with your kiddos about resetting the candy habit and having them help clear out the pantry.
- Using portion control with your sweet treats so you don’t overindulge.
- Let balance be your guiding principle. If the school is throwing an ice cream party, that is an okay exemption from the family candy/sugar detox. Just make sure he doesn’t double dip with Ben & Jerry’s after dinner too.
If leftover holiday/birthday/barbecue candy is a problem in your home as it became in ours, try a detox. I write these words with caution because I don’t want to promote a mentality of good food/bad food. My hope is to promote a moderate approach to balance. An occasional treat provides a little bit of enjoyment. It can come from watching your kids discover some of the candy you had as a kid – they still have Fun Dip! It can be from sharing your love of baking with your children and watch them as they watch batter become cake. Or, it can be savoring the same flavor of ice cream together. Too much of anything is not a good thing. Teaching your kiddos to have balance with treats may spill over into balance with other aspects of life – work, rest, sports, relationships, etc.
From the words of one of our favorite board books, Yummy Yucky: “Ice cream is Yummy. Too much ice cream is Yucky.”