In a recent New Yorker article, How to Eat Candy Like a Swedish Person, the general public learned about Sweden’s (limited) obsession with lördagsgodis or “Saturday candy.”
Messages about this article flooded my inbox with questions like, “Is this true?” and “Do you really only eat candy once a week?”
I’ll admit that this has become such a normal part of our lives that it didn’t register in my mind as being anything particularly interesting to share.
Yes, we really do limit our kids to eating sweets on Saturdays and let me tell you…it’s wonderful.
Implementing a nationwide 6-day ban on sweets is an effective way to avoid those arguments about not eating so much candy, juice, or cookies during the week.
Whenever my kids ask if they can have juice, I just blame the calendar instead of taking parental responsibility for imposing harsh restrictions on their sugar consumption.
“It’s not up to me, kids, it’s not Saturday and those are the rules.”
“Is it Saturday? Then you have to wait.”
And that’s it!
If you think about it, implementing this on Saturdays is brilliant. Kids have an entire day to come down from their sugar rush before heading back to school.
Pick and Mix Candy
The free-standing “pick and mix” candy bins were first invented in 1984 by Karamellkungen—The Candy King. We had these candy bins in the movie theatres when I was a kid in upstate New York but the movie theatre charged like a billion dollars per ounce, so my parents never let me fill up a bag.
One Piece Per Year of Age
The rule in our Swedish neighborhood, which we also follow, is that each kid is allowed one piece of candy for every year of their age.
We head to the grocery store for our weekly groceries and the kids can take one small wax-lined paper bag and carefully select their candy for the day.
Technically, I could fill up a heavy bag if I followed the one-piece-per-year-of-age rule but I’d never finish the bag before the day was over.
As it is now, our kids rarely finish their small bags of candy.
Sometimes, it backfires
Perhaps a childhood of severe sugar restriction breeds a bit of resentment.
Many times, I’ve seen Swedish men (mostly) diving into the grocery store candy bins during the week and you can tell they are the rebellious sort. They just ooze the attitude of, “Nobody will tell ME when I get to eat candy. I’m an adult!”
Calm down, there sparky and enjoy your sugar worms.
Some parents worry that lördagsgodis encourages a binging approach to sweets because they can only eat on one day.
Although, if you chat with anyone who is training or on a diet, they’ll often remark that their “cheat days” aren’t as bad as you might think.
“You know, the kids didn’t ask me for any ice cream after dinner,” my mother-in-law said after watching the kids for a night. They are used to not eating it during the week and don’t expect it after dinner. It’s all about consistency.
It really works
If you want your kids to have healthier teeth and you want to hear less whining for sweets during the week, then consider instituting a “Saturday Candy Rule” in your house.
(Also, your kids’ dentist will be super happy.)
Let me know if you’re thinking about implementing a sugar restriction in your house.