Before I became a parent, I swore I’d avoid being extreme about anything. My daughter’s first was spent at a sugar-free party whose seeming goody-two-shoes healthiness set my teeth on edge. Of course, that was before I’d realized that candy is sold nearly everywhere these days and that children seem to have a sixth sense for finding it.
Ever since our doctor recently recommended restricting my daughter’s sugar consumption, it seems even more ubiquitous. On the one hand, Trinity’s become an expert at nutritional label reading. On the other, I’ve been increasingly challenged to find foods that meet her specific dietary requirements (which also exclude dairy, peanuts and citrus).
With this in mind, we recently visited in search of healthy fare. Having been there before, I can say a lot of good things about Sprouts. They’ve got an excellent produce selection that prominently features organics, they sell freshly baked bread, and their selection of specialty items—including gluten free, dairy free and sugar free—is impressive. Though their prices are usually more Whole Foods than Trader Joe’s, weekly specials can offset the higher cost.
Nevertheless, mere moments into our visit, I remembered why we shop there so infrequently: The candy aisle.
There it is, as you walk into the store—smack in the middle of everything—an aisle composed of bin upon bin of assorted sweet things. Not ideal for a store I visit when I’m specifically interested in shopping healthier. And with nothing between your children and all that candy but a plastic lid and a giant scooper, not ideal for parents trying to survive another trip to the supermarket sans sweets.
While its website’s references to “chocolate-covered novelties” and “a huge variety of colorful candies” make it sound like innocent fun, most parents might agree that trying to make it past that much candy with a child (or two) in tow would be one of their least favorite things to do. In fact, my particular two children got into a fight just looking at all those Gummi worms, Gummi bears and chocolate covered novelties.
Fortunately, Trinity also likes baby coconuts and pomegranates, so I was able to successfully redirect her to the produce section. But the damage had been done.
While I understand Sprouts’ financial motivations for so prominently featuring candy, I'm also moved to say: Sprouts, please, take mercy on the health- conscious parents shopping in your store and move the candy to the side so we can avoid it.