Goody Bag Treats: Happily Offer Your Kids More

by | Jun 13, 2023 | 0 comments

Give my kids MORE treats? Are you out of your mind, offer a goody bag with candy after all that cake? If you would prefer to watch this content versus read, please check out the video here. To note: this blog post has “extra goodies” at the end.

Goody Bag Season

Here’s the scenario – it’s THAT time of the year with celebrations. Your kid is at yet another birthday party of the day, after many other weekends of birthday parties and other graduations and whatnot, and there’s a goody bag that your kid gets to take home full of candy and other fun treats. This is of course after your kid has already indulged in cupcakes or cake, juice, pizza, chips – whatever. What should you do?

Multi-colored goody bags
Should we give kids access to their treat bags after the party?

What We Usually Say

Here’s what we usually say, which is, “You JUST had treats! You just ate ice cream! It’s too much sugar for the day,” or “How can you still possibly want more?” And I am the first to say that I want to say these things and have said these things.

But as a dietitian and parent who, obviously I care deeply about how nutrition impacts our health and wellbeing – especially as it relates to the prevention of chronic diseases, I also equally care about how children (and adults) can tap into their own “body wisdom” and make choices that are best for their own body.

So many would say – oh! Well, my kid doesn’t KNOW what’s best for his body, if given permission to he would consume sweet after sweet!

And the key words here are: if given permission to.

Restricting and How it Backfires

The only thing I can equate this to is a piggy bank. Your kid earns some cash, and she blows it all on a dumb very expensive pen at the book fair – been there, done, that – my daughter literally bought a $7 pen one day at one of these things – it’s excruciating. But my daughter learned she didn’t have that $7 anymore for some other thing she wanted.

Expensive pen from my kid’s Book Fair – this. was. $7!

Our kids are learning and it’s hard to watch – it’s hard to watch your kid eat a lollipop and laughy taffy after the monster piece of cake they had 20 minutes prior.

But for many kids they are still learning what it feels like to get to a “too full feeling,” and when we rob them of the opportunity to make decisions about their goodie bag (which let’s be honest they earned by attending the party) then with that financial analogy, we are teaching them that we don’t trust them to figure this out.

Implications and Recommendations

There are implications in this. If kids don’t think we can trust them, then they may not trust themselves. And when they can’t trust themselves, that’s when we start seeing a shaky relationship with food.

Here is what I recommend you try when your kid gets her next goodie bag.

  • Tell your child: you can decide to eat this now or later.
  • Then, stick to your guns on this so they can build that trust back in you.
  • If they choose not to eat their goodie bag treats today, let them know that these treats aren’t going to magically disappear.
  • Tell them you promise their treats will be safely stored away so that they can have them during this upcoming week or so.

By setting these sorts of trusting boundaries – your kids will learn just like with a piggy bank whether to spend or save their goodies. And chances are they might even share with others like their siblings because they realize that goodie bag treats are just like currency, and they have some pretty important decisions to make about that.

Piggy banks are like goody bags - we can choose to spend, save or give
Piggy banks are like goody bags – we can choose to spend, save or give

The Sweet Science of Kids’ Goody Bags: Treats Galore!

Now let’s get to the “goodies,” as I mentioned to you – if you watched my video above or only read the above content, you would be missing out on the rest.

Remember the good old days when goody bags were the highlight of every kid’s birthday party? They were like magical bags full of surprises, and this is truly part of childhood!

Giving kids their goody bags after a party they attended where they’ve already had cake and treats can be a fantastic idea. Here are my top reasons why:

  1. Extend the Celebration: There is so much excitement in getting to take home a “piece of the party,” and letting kids indulge in it now or later can help them process what they just experienced.
  2. Delayed Gratification: By waiting until the end of the party, you teach kids the value of delayed gratification – especially if they get to decide when to indulge. It helps them understand that rewards and treats can be earned and enjoyed when they desire.
  3. Prevent Overindulgence: Serving cake and treats during the party is often part of the experience. By restricting access to a kids’ treat bag after the party, they might be more apt to hiding their treats and overindulging versus deciding on their own how to interface with their goodies.
  4. Balance and Variety: Goody bags can be a mix of both sweet treats and non-edible items. Kids get to see that they will have the chance to partake in many bonus parts of their bag – and that the sweet parts are neutral, just like the toy parts.
Balloons, treats and goody bags
Let the celebration continue!

Last Remarks

While it feels like a parental nightmare to have your kid loaded with sugar well after the birthday party has ended, know that it is crucial to strike a balance that aligns with your family values, while considering the potential impact on children’s emotions, behavior, and overall enjoyment of the event.

Are you struggling with how to help yourself and your kids balance their sweet intake? Check out my other articles about how to incorporate all different kinds of food that help you end picky eating battles.

Are you interested in 1:1 support? Book your free 15-minute call here, or engage in an email inquiry.


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Marissa Beck, MS, RDN, Founder of REVV Health, is an award-winning dietitian and recognized nutrition counselor with over 13 years of experience.

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