Candy, Carbs, and Counting, Oh My!

by Leighann on October 30, 2008

My daughter wanted a piece of candy from her trip to Boo at the Zoo earlier this week. I cannot deny her all pleasures in life so I chose the smallest, most innocuous looking piece there was: a small Tootsie Roll.

But how many carbs are in a Tootsie Roll? I looked it up in our book version of the Calorie King, but it wasn’t too helpful because this wasn’t a regular-sized piece. I ran downstairs to the computer and looked it up on the Calorie King’s website (nice because you can put in serving size and it figures out the carbs). So, that little Tootsie Roll was about 2 grams of carbs.

Though we are obviously limiting her candy intake (as we have always done, but this year as a medical necessity), we are hoping that her bag is filled with trinkets and pencils and Play-Doh (which we are handing out).

I found an interesting discussion on Crunchy Domestic Goddess about healthier alternatives to letting kids get sugar overload this time of year. I was surprised to see a parent leave several comments that children under such tight reins would be stigmatized at school and that parents who don’t let kids gorge themselves are sucking all the joy out of life. (Read the couple of comments I made in reaction to this person, she got quite vicious in her attacks.)

At the preschool’s Halloween party this year, the sign up sheet clearly stated that they wanted parents to bring healthy snacks and listed some options. One parent wrote at the bottom “I will be bringing cupcakes.” I have to say that it is one thing to have small cookies for the kids, but what child really needs a full-sized cupcake at 7:00 pm?

I was at the party talking with another mom, a mom who has been pretty supportive. In fact when it was her daughter’s birthday, she brought in angel food cupcakes and whipped cream which is pretty low in carbs and my daughter could eat the entire portion (not just a nibble). But as we were talking, her daughter came up and asked to have a cookie. Her mom said yes. She took two in her hands. And then another parent came up and asked if someone would please take the last cupcake on the tray. And in front of me was a little girl just like mine with a hand full of sugary treats and a smile on her face. For a brief second I thought about my own daughter and how she couldn’t be that carefree.

Before the party, we ate dinner and I made sure she filled up. I explained to her before we even left that at the party there was going to be food. She could eat cheese and maybe some veggies and dip. But no sweets. I told her that we could look at all the sweets and choose something to bring home to have the next day with a meal.

You see I couldn’t let her eat anything with carbs because it was in between dinner and bedtime and that is not a time that she can eat. I might have been able to let her eat something with carbs, but then I would have to take the insulin to give her a fifth injection for the day.

But do you know what she got to eat at the party that was very fun for her? A parent had taken deli cheese and cut out skulls, bats, and the word “boo.” I piled a plate up high with this cheese and she was tickled!

She never asked to consume candy. She did want a pretzel stick, which was denied her. And at one point she walked up drinking a cup of “fruit water.” I am not sure what kind of drink it was, but it didn’t taste too sugary.

As the party was winding down, we went to the food table to let her choose a treat to bring home. She picked out a large pretzel stick, a couple of cookies, and a cupcake. (No, I wasn’t really going to let her eat all of that.)

At her bedtime snack she asked if she could have one of the treats. She asked for the pretzel. Not the cookies, not the cupcake. The pretzel. A quick weigh and calculation and it would fit into her bedtime snack.

Don’t tell her, but I tossed the uneaten goodies this morning. And truth be told, it probably won’t bother her in the least bit.

The next morning, most of the kids at school were rambunctious from a late bedtime and coming down off a sugar high. A visitor to the classroom made a comment to me about kids and how they eat so much sugar at Halloween parties. I didn’t correct her, but I can tell you my children couldn’t be lumped into that group (or in previous years since I don’t let them gorge).

She’ll undoubtedly have fun trick-or-treating tonight and she’ll undoubtedly want to have a little treat upon return. Just as in previous years, I will let her have a little something (but will have to give her an extra injection or wait for a meal time for consumption) and squirrel away the rest to be forgotten in the upper cabinet for months.

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