You don’t have to refuse your child a piece of candy – if it doesn’t bother you that he’s eating pure sugar at best and greasy sugar at worst. Candy provides virtually no nutritional benefits. I can’t see that it has any place in a child’s diet.
I always wonder when a parent tells me they don’t know how to say “no” to a particular food. What if your toddler asked you for a glass of bourbon? I doubt you’d have any trouble refusing to allow it. Candy is in the same league. Because of the harm it can do to teeth, weight, and behavior, I view candy as a punishment instead of a treat.
We seem to have the most trouble refusing our children what we were refused at their age. The good news is that with practice “no” comes more easily.
In place of a piece of candy, offer a piece of fruit. It’s also sweet and full of flavor, and contains 90% water which helps keep your child’s hydration level high. Another benefit is, unlike candy, the fruit “wrapper” can go into the compost instead of the landfill.
Be gentle as you are making dietary improvements for your family. Some families do well with a drastic and complete change and some require a more gradual approach that leads them to a very occasional indulgence of a favorite food. Find what works for your family as you walk this path to improving your health by improving your foods.