Being a responsible parent is about more than just giving your child food, quality education, and a roof over their heads. Instead, it is about being conscious and fully aware of what your child consumes and how their food affects their health.
In today’s fast-paced world, the sugar candy industry keeps on growing. One can find thousands of candies, sweets, chocolates, and ice creams in various delicious flavors.
Despite the massive number of brands, new market entrants are seen yearly, and the industry is not nearly saturated.
Everyone likes a piece of candy, whether you are a kid or an adult. The multitudes of colors and attractive shapes appeal to the eyes and make people want to try the candy.
However, as you grow older, your sugar cravings are not as intense, and you do not have the desire to have a whole packet of gummy bear jellies in one sitting.
On the contrary, if you are a kid used to eating sugar candies, chances are you will want to eat bags and bags of candies without feeling satiated or guilty. This is exactly where the problem lies.
While everyone wants to keep their children happy by handing them a pack of marshmallows or sour sticks, people should hold back this urge and refrain from giving their kids bags upon bags of candy.
Sugary candy does make your child happy, and they might tell you that you are the best parent in the world, but at what cost?
Your child’s health can be permanently affected in many ways, affecting their self-esteem, confidence, and happiness.
Hence, while it is normal for children to want sweet treats, the goal should be to provide natural and homemade sugar candies as much as possible.
Continue reading to learn what most sugar candies are made of, why adults should refrain from giving their kids too much candy, and how one can make healthier sugar candies at home to keep their children happy without compromising on their health.
What Are Sugar Candies Made of?
As the name suggests, sugar candies are majorly made from, well, sugar. About 50 to 60% of a candy’s content is sugar in the form of fructose or glucose. This high amount of sugar gives the candy its sweetness and crystal glass-like appearance.
When gelatin is added to the sugar caramel during the candy-making process, a fudgy and rubbery consistency is attained. This helps make the softer non-crystal forms of candies, taffies, marshmallows, etc.
Moreover, sugar candies contain a lot of water and many different chemicals. While not all candies contain harmful chemicals, a majority of them do.
The problem arises when parents do not do their research to check which candies have the more harmful chemicals and instead allow their kids to consume anything they want.
Moreover, at times, many popular sugar candy companies that use various harmful chemicals and color dyes do not disclose that information on the packaging and instead conceal the information in bar and number codes.
Hence, even when some concerned parents try to read the list of ingredients that have gone into making candy, most are unaware which number or bar code represents which chemical.
As a result, they allow their kids to enjoy the seemingly harmless sugar candy, which negatively affects their health.
A list of ingredients and chemicals that every parent needs to watch out for when buying candy for their kid is as follows:
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Artificial colors and sweeteners
- Partially hydrogenated oils
- Sodium benzoate,
- Polysorbate 60, 65 or 80
- Sulfites (sulfur dioxide) and nitrites
- Maltodextrin (a type of gluten)
- Modified food starch
Moreover, if a list of numbers is added in the ingredients section, it is also important to check what that number represents.
Why Should Parents Stop their Kids from Having Too Much Candy?
Even when you find a pack of candies that does not have most of the ingredients mentioned above, you still need to control your child’s habit of wanting to eat candy.
This is important because processed sugar-based candy will never be healthy for your child. Hence, you need to avoid them due to the following reasons:
- The high percentage of sugar found in most candies can cause a sugar addiction.
- Your child will only feel active or happy once they have had some candy. This happens because the body begins to depend on the high sugar dosage.
- Moreover, with time, they will need more candy to feel the same kind of sugar rush as they used to with less candy.
- Eventually, when you try to cut down your child’s candy consumption, the child may experience anger, anxiety, stress, and loss of energy due to reduced sugar consumption.
- Moreover, your child will eventually begin gaining weight due to excessive sugar candy consumption and can become obese if the situation is not controlled.
- As a result, your child may get bullied at school, lose confidence and self-esteem, and eventually struggle with social interactions, depression, and anxiety.
- Excessive sugar candy consumption can cause painful cavities in the teeth, which will only be removed via costly dental procedures.
- Continued sugar consumption can also lead to diseases like diabetes.
- Furthermore, some processed candies that contain soy, gluten, milk, or nuts can trigger inflammations and dangerous allergic reactions in your child.
- At times the allergic reaction can be fatal.
How to Make Healthier Sugar Candies at Home for Your Kids
As explained above, nothing good really comes from consuming processed sugar candies that contain nasty and highly dangerous chemicals.
However, as a parent, you must also understand that your children cannot and should not be stopped from consuming sweet items altogether. While sugar can lead to obesity, it can also bring happiness and a boost of energy.
Hence, the goal is not to take away your child’s candy bag but instead to replace the candy with healthier and more natural homemade alternatives.
Below are some ideas to make healthier homemade sugar candies for your kids.
Salted Honey Candies
One amazing alternative to using crystal while sugar is natural honey. Not only is it just as sweet, but it is also completely natural, aromatic, easily available everywhere, and has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties.
Hence, you can give your kids honey-based candies without worrying about their health or negative consequences. To make the salted honey candies, you need the following ingredients:
- Organic honey
- Organic pink or sea salt
- Filtered water
- Lemon juice
- Vanilla extract
Now, follow this recipe:
- Place a non-stick pan on a low flame and pour in half a cup of organic honey and three tablespoons of filtered water.
- As the honey and water begin to caramelize, add two teaspoons of lemon juice and one teaspoon of salt.
- Mix so that the caramel does not burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add two to three drops of vanilla essence, mix, and remove the saucepan from the heat.
- On a cool tray, pour the honey and salt caramel, and spread it using a silicone spatula to form a thin layer.
- Place the tray in the freezer for thirty to forty minutes.
- Once the time is up, remove the tray and gently use a kitchen hammer to break the sheet of caramel to form smaller pieces of candy.
- Take the small candy pieces and wrap them in plastic sheets to resemble the candy your kids like to buy from the store.
You can store these homemade sugar candies in a jar and give your child a piece whenever they need to curb their sugar cravings.
Moreover, if you want to make colorful versions of the honey candy, you can always extract natural colors from fresh beetroots, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, etc.
Then, add the colorful fruit extracts to the mixture while it is heating on the stove.
Berries Coated in Chocolate
Another super easy yet extremely loved homemade candy is a chocolate-coated berry. While this is not the same as a crystalized sugar candy, its size, shape, and taste give your kids the same excitement and joy.
To make chocolate-coated berries, you need the following ingredients:
- Dark chocolate
- Organic maple syrup
- A selection of your favorite berries
- Milk (if your child is not lactose intolerant)
Follow this recipe:
- Add a few cubes of dark chocolates, a swig of milk, and some maple syrup to a saucepan.
- Keep stirring till all the ingredients melt and mix. Once a homogenous mixture is formed, remove the pan from the heat.
- Pour the hot chocolate mixture on a large pan and add in your berries.
- Toss the berries around in the chocolate mixture till all of them have been coated.
- Place the coated berries in the freezer for an hour.
Finally, serve your kids the berries as candy or with their morning cereal.
Honey Candied Popcorn
This recipe is super easy to make and is always extremely popular with both kids and adults. For this, you need the following ingredients:
- Organic honey
- Maple syrup
- Sea salt
- Lemon juice
Now, follow this recipe:
- Place a non-stick pan on low flame and add honey, maple syrup, lemon juice, and a generous pinch of sea salt.
- Mix till all the ingredients melt into one another.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl.
- Make some fresh butter popcorns and add them to the honey mixture while it is still hot.
- Toss the bowl until all the popcorns have been coated in the honey mixture.
- Set the coated popcorns aside to dry for ten minutes.
You can serve the candied popcorn while they are hot or store them in an airtight Ziplock baggie to keep them fresh.
Frozen Fruit Popsicles
Nothing is better than frozen popsicles to beat the heat in summer. What’s more, they are even better when made using natural ingredients.
- Freshly chopped fruit chunks.
- You can use strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, watermelon, etc.
- Fresh fruit juice.
- Organic maple syrup.
- Add your fruits, a tablespoon of maple syrup, and water to a blender and mix well.
- Pour the fruit juice into popsicle molds and add some more fruit chunks.
- Leave the mold in the freezer overnight, and enjoy!
If you are a parent, you may already know how a single shopping trip can lead to you having to buy dozens of different sugar candies for your kids.
Parents need to understand that kids, by their nature, will act like kids. Hence, taking away their candy will only be a temporary solution that will lead to tantrums.
The trick is to make delicious, natural, and healthy candy at home so your child does not miss out, nor do they pay the price of following their demands.
Use ingredients like natural fruits, honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar, and treat your kids to delicious homemade candies to keep them energetic, healthy, and happy.