Two moms and an eye-opening experiment


The creativity of our readers is amazing! The following is an “experiment” that two Moms, Mandy and her friend Jessica, did over this past holiday season. 

They thought it would be interesting to keep track of all unhealthy treats, including the calories, fat grams, and sugar grams that three of their children were offered at school, church, and Grandma’s house from November 10 through December 25th; for a total of 45 days.  They charted it below, and the following is the summary: 

In forty-five days, three children, ages 3, 5, and 7 were offered a total of 41,734 extra calories; 1,927 grams of fat; and 6,470 grams of sugar! No joke! 

And interesting to note, because the Moms had both pledged to follow Dr. Fuhrman’s Holiday Challenge during that time, Mandy thinks the numbers would’ve been at least twice that amount had they not accepted the challenge. She said the children were amazing as they brought home the treats that they had passed up and counted the days on a paper chain.  As a reward, and as a way to reinforce in them that they weren’t “giving up” something, but making a trade for something better, the Moms took them to a hotel with an indoor pool and had a mini-vacation afterward. 

For better treat options, Mandy and Jessica found lots of fun and tasty ways to eat fruit, like frozen bananas with a little peanut butter to make banana ice-cream. They also discovered that it was a huge shift in mindset to get over the idea that they “had” to have a treat after every dinner, but they succeeded!

Here is the list of combined treats passed up by all three children:

[November 10 through December 25, 2011]

Candy Type

 Total Offered

Total Calories

Total Fat Grams

Total Sugar Grams

Snack-size Candy










Ice Cream

 30 ½ cup servings




Pixie Sticks










Chocolate Milk

 1 carton (school lunch)














Tootsie Pops










Full size Candy Bar






 1 serving




Soda Pop





Hard Candy











 8 slices









Candy Cane





Sleeve of Thin Mints










Box of Cocoa





Bag of Crunch Bars





Box of Orange Sticks





Peanut Brittle










Small Cookies















Grand totals:


41,734 calories

1927 grams of fat

6470 grams of sugar


309 calories per child per day

14 grams of fat per child per day

48 grams of sugar per child per day


25% of daily caloric needs

35% of daily fat intake

16% of daily needs for carbohydrates, according to one internet source


Bravo to these Moms and their precious children! 

Let’s all learn from their innovative experiment that it is truly up to us, as parents, to protect our children’s health and well-being.    

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Angelique - January 23, 2012 11:40 AM

I believe those numbers! I have a 5 year old son, and was disappointed that he had been doing so well at school not having the junky snacks.. until he was tempted at the holidays by all the crap! Now, I notice, he has still been taking the school snack, instead of mine, ever since then. Thankfully, he doesn't get any junk food at home and doesn't go to grandma's very often. This is neat... I wouldn't have had the patience to calculate all that! HA!

chris - January 23, 2012 12:06 PM

Hooray to both Moms and their kids for sticking with the challenge. Many people say "its only one treat..." and look at you as if you are depriving your kids when you say no. My son loves fruit, so we buy bags of frozen berries, peaches, etc. that he can have as a snack at night. Add grinded seeds,cinnamon and heat for a delicious twist.

Debbi - January 24, 2012 10:37 AM

That is an awsome thing they did for thier kids. If only more parents realized how they are influencing their children. A big YEAH for themboth.

Meridith - January 25, 2012 8:08 AM

This is incredibly sad. 48 grams of sugar PER DAY. We are just stuffing our children with junk, 24/7. Seriously, that's a lot of food to be eating in addition to regular meals. I want to print this out and keep it with me to show the people who tell me they "feel sorry" for my 4 year old daughter because she doesn't eat all this garbage. :(

Patti - January 25, 2012 9:47 AM

It's like paddling up a river! We are swamped everywhere with junk 24/7. I continually think of new and healthy snacks for the kids. Nuts, fruits, popcorn, etc..... Lots of work but so worth it. Then after becomes second nature. Education is the key!!!

ViviD - January 25, 2012 5:29 PM

Same has happened to my 8yo son these holiday - but he ate it all! And he is visibly fatter than he was 3 months ago. Over the holidays he spent a lot of time socialising with other kids and their families, and at every single occasion outside our house the offerings were mostly ONLY junk, every time! Now my kid loves salad and eats all the healthy meals I prepare, and for every social occasion our family attended I made various healthy dishes to combine with the SAD fare, but he also loves everything else and will eat what is offered and like most kids loves sweets & chips & icecream. I don't want to forbid him for eating what other kids are allowed, or deny him social opportunities so what do I do? I think I know the answer, become more social myself and invite people over to my place instead of us going out. Thankfully school holidays and party season is over and I have a new resolve to speak out to other parents (in the nicest possible way) and explain that while I am grateful they want my child to spend time with them, does it have to involve junk food? How do you say it without sounding 'holier than thou'? While it probably doesn't matter that their skinny kids have that extra bag of chips or sugary drink, my poor son wears it. Frustrating! My 11yo daughter is a skinny as a rake and pretty much eats the same way.
Any advice/thoughts on this one?

mgm - January 25, 2012 6:43 PM

This rings so true. I work at a private school and every time you turn around, there is a gathering or meeting of some kind, and that means food. SAD food. We have a mission statement, but it should really read 'Wherever two or more students are gathered, there will be sugar, fat and white carbs.' It seems there is even a bit of competition amongst the wealthier mothers to see who can bring in the most indulgent, over the top catered treats. It's sad. Not only are they encouraging their children to eat garbage, they are teaching them to get their worth from outdoing other people - doing a disservice to both their little growing bodies, and their very impressionable minds. The kids have seen it for so long, they expect it. From their point of view, whatever reason they are getting together is secondary to the SAD food, and if you don't bring any, they consider the occasion a bust. It's maddening.

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