My 2.5 years old son keeps asking for candies. He started doing this for the last one month. I am looking for some substitutes that are sweet and still healthy to eat.

asked 04 Nov '09, 04:24

neeraj's gravatar image

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edited 04 Nov '09, 11:43

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Scott ♦♦

I give my 2.5 year old Fruit Snacks (similar texture to gummy bears) as a substitute for candy. I think that she thinks it IS candy. It's not as healthy as real fruit by any means, but I think it is certainly a good substitute for candy.


answered 04 Nov '09, 08:44

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

How about making your own fruit smoothie Popsicles for him?

Just blend a few different kinds of fruit or even some veggies with milk or juice (that has no sugar added) and freeze it in ice cube trays with tooth picks or buy an actual Popsicle tray.

Then he's getting something sweet and it has a good dose of fruit too!


answered 04 Nov '09, 14:21

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Shannon B
accept rate: 9%

Grapes. Apples cut into bits. (Especially tart apples)

Does it have to be sweet? My kid loves popcorn. We pop it in oil so it is flavorful. If you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator, you can make natural fruit leather.


answered 04 Nov '09, 04:29

MrChrister's gravatar image

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Raisins are good, perhaps as a stepping stone to fresh fruit.

A random search on the web finds articles suggesting that raisins are generally healthy but contain a lot of sugar. This sugar, though, is the "natural, simple" kind that is better for you than refined sugar.


answered 04 Nov '09, 07:47

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Paul Stephenson
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+1 Recommending raisins. They, along with other dried fruits can br great substitutes for candy.

(04 Nov '09, 09:08) Emi

In addition to having substitute good foods, here are 2 other tricks that might help you:

  • Try setting time(s) when he's allowed to have them. Use a time reference they'll understand. If they can't tell time, you can use things like 'after Spongebob is off' or 'after dinner'. When he asks you at for them when it's not "candies time" you don't have to say "no", just ask him when "candies time" is and if it's right now. At that point he'll either accept that and get used to it or he will protest -- either way, he'll get it. If he does protest, you can reaffirm that you'll gladly give him candies at candies time.

  • This other should probably not be used in conjunction with the first: young children are easily fooled by the illusion of choice. Instead of asking if he "wants dried pineapple instead of candy?", ask him if he "wants dried pineapple or raisins?". This works more times than not and even with silly fake options. The example I always use is: instead of "put on your jacket" or "do you want to wear your jacket?", ask "do you want to wear your jacket backwards or forwards?" They'll almost always choose forwards and be happy with the choice they made. If they choose backwards though, let them. 1) What's the harm? 2) If you don't, you'll loose the power of these tricks in the future. 3) It's just the right thing to do since you told them they had a choice.


answered 04 Nov '09, 13:47

Dinah's gravatar image

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In my experience, roasted carrots are a good substitute (and I mean really roasted), they are a great because they shrivel up making them unrecognizable as carrots and they are super sweet. Just cut them into slices, lay them flat out on a baking sheet, drizzle with grapeseed oil and a little salt and pepper and pop them into a 375 oven until they get shrivelly.


answered 04 Nov '09, 04:32

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

Great idea, and tasty as a side too!

(04 Nov '09, 23:11) ceejayoz

Ready-to-eat dried prunes are sweet and sticky. As are ready-to-eat dried apricots.

My children really like seedless grapes and satsuma segments. He might enjoy peeling his own satsuma, my youngest does and he's about 28 months.


answered 04 Nov '09, 13:29

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

Actual fruit, nuts, or sweetish veggies would be great. Example include grapes, prunes, dried fruit (I like pineapple), raisins.

Beware of snacks that are not called "candy" by name but effectively are candy -- by which I mean, overly high sugar-to-nutrient ratio. When assessing a snack, ask yourself: What are the ingredients? HOW MUCH sugar is in it? Does it have high fructose corn syrup? Any unpronounceable chemicals you wouldn't find in real food? Just because it's "made with real fruit" doesn't mean it isn't candy.

A key part of the strategy of substituting something else for candy is not to have much around the house. And developing a palette that doesn't require sweets constantly. I'm not suggesting going cold turkey -- you don't want the "forbidden fruit" effect (sorry for the pun). But just rare enough that it's not expected constantly and doesn't interfere with good nutrition.


answered 04 Nov '09, 21:10

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edited 05 Nov '09, 04:59

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Asked: 04 Nov '09, 04:24

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Last updated: 05 Nov '09, 04:59