The Myth of Occasional Kids Treats

I’m not in the business of writing opinion pieces under normal circumstances. Oddly enough! Considering I have many strongly held opinions about…well pretty much everything HA! But I do have quite a bee in my bonnet about this topic. A big huge buzzing bumblebee!

Since having kids, myself, I have been working really hard to limit many things which we now know really are truly bad for them….chemical exposure such as artificial fragrances, chemical weed killers in the garden (my 18mo puts EVERY.THING in his mouth) and pretty much every cleaner around the home. As well as food items – processed foods, ‘numbers’ in foods, trans fats and SUGAR!

If you believe the recent hype (which I do), that it’s actually sugar that is making us fat. And that we are a generation of fatty’s – no offence, but if white is white, then fat is fat. (I tend not to lean towards the whole PC thing.) And our kids are becoming more overweight – stats show that 1 in 4 school aged children are above healthy recommended weight, then it all seems to point in one very definitive direction…..SUGAR.

Sooooooo, let me then tell you exactly what that big ol’ buzzy bumblebee is all about.


yup, occasional treats for kids. Sugar laden sweeties or chocolates or cakes. Getting our kids all hopped up on sugar highs and getting them addicted to that white sweety goodness. But as long as it’s only occasionally. Right?

Let’s have a look at the definition of occasionally according to Mr Google:

adverb: occasionally
  1. at infrequent or irregular intervals; now and then.
    “we met up occasionally for a drink”

Doctors offering sweeties for being “a good boy”. I frequently read on so many blog posts, news articles, dietitian experts, child carer advocates….all quoting the concept of occasional treats…oh its ok, its just the occasional treat. Right???
(I’m not going to link to these particular posts or articles, as I’m not here to shame other people’s opinions, but simply to express my own)

Now, I will preface this, to some extent, that my considerations in this and my bee in the bonnet is perhaps aimed more at the primary school aged children – not so much secondary school ages.

Here are some “occasional economics 101” for you to consider.

Easter – Occasionally
Christmas – Occasionally
Child’s Birthday – Occasionally
Siblings Birthday – Occasionally
Classmate’s Birthdays – Occasionally
Friends/Extended cousins birthdays – Occasionally

So, we lets assume 30 classmates, with invite/attendance to just 2/3 of those (for realistic figures)
And, I’ll go with my own family dynamic of just one sibling (2 kids).
And we’ll estimate say 6 friends/extended family events over the course of a year? Does that sound feasible?

Easter, Christmas and Child and Sibling Birthday – 4
2/3 Classmates Birthdays – 20
Extended Family/Friends – 6

We are looking at 30 “occasional” treats per year.
And you might even add in the double dips – a small celebration at school and then another at home with family, is another thing that can occur. Adding more of these occasional sugar events to the suite of allowable treats for our kids.

That ends up being a treat every 1.7 weeks.
That is more often that once a fortnight!

And to be honest, you might even look at that and think that IS occasional, so I guess the definition of occasional can have moving goal posts. But if I were to go out to a restaurant every fortnight (so, for example, once a payday) I would personally, call that regular, not occasional.

And don’t EVEN get me started on the “occasional treats” in lunchboxes.

My biggest issue, is WHEN did sugar become sooooo ingrained into our psyche that we make excuses for having it? We make excuses for allowing it into our children’s diets – when we know it is detrimental to their health? Why is sugar a natural and integral part of celebratory events, so much so, that the occasional treats we allow our kids to have end being more than once a fortnight?


So we either need to eradicate sugar from the celebration psyche. Or we just change the definition of occasional – to something more aligned to regularly, so we can still say occasionally and feel good about only giving our kids a treat ‘occasionally’ when in reality, it is every other jolly week!

One thought on “The Myth of Occasional Kids Treats

  1. Stephanie Says says:

    Yes, that is occasionally, I think that is OK for over 2-3 year olds, if their early palate is formed previously on a low salt, zero added sugar diet. I remember hearing a medical speaker a few years back who said that one unhealthy meal every 21 meals was OK… Our kindergarten clicked on this occasionally-can-end-up-being-quite-often idea. The kindy said something like they were only going to celebrate the 5th birthdays with kindy-made baking, as they had previously had parents bringing in sweets for all the kids’ birthdays and it was becoming at least once a week. I agree that sugar shouldn’t be seen as a food, but as a treat maybe it should be seen like alcohol – no nutritional value, but not neccessarily detrimental to overall health if limited.

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