Most people would assume that my children eat a lot of candy. While I do make handmade candy as a part-time profession, my children consume very little sugar and treats on a regular basis.
Early on with both daughters, we closely monitored sugar intake. We restricted useless calories and refined sugars and flours right from the first solids. My first daughter didn't try chocolate until she was almost 3, and at that only had a small organic chocolate egg for Easter.
Both my girls enjoy treats and have only eaten good quality sweets. They have never consumed processed junk food or manufactured candy and "chocolate" bars. (We forbid chocolate milk, soda, and trans fats too). They have only had good, mostly handmade sweets in very small quantities.
For us, we try to make sweets and treats something special to look forward to at Christmas, Easter and birthdays. In between, we do baking, and most of our home baking is very low sugar and high quality flours and grains. However, we don't want to restrict treats all-together. We try to strike a balance of enjoying one treat, really savoring it, and not consuming handfuls of it.
Case in point: as my family and friends helped me prepare for my recent Christmas market, my girls saw the trays of treats being packaged up. They asked a few times for a marshmallow. (Who wouldn't?) I told them they could come to my market and choose one treat. They were so excited to see me at the market and I let them and their cousins choose one item. Both girls chose my gourmet s'mores and ate about half of it. There you go. They enjoyed it. Savored it. And didn't even finish it. Their bodies aren't addicted to sugar and they are very comfortable with knowing when to stop eating when they are full.
In that moment I realized that we were on the right track with teaching our kids about enjoying life, treats, and all the good things about holidays. We don't need a lot (of anything, really) to enjoy something of good quality.
When I talk to my customers, I truly encourage eating sweets in moderation. I do myself (most of the time!). And I think it is a healthy way to enjoy treats, find balance, and make the most of the holidays. And there is no way I could completely give up my sweet tooth!