No, I'm not talking about the President's Day box-office smash, I'm talking about Valentine's Day. In my day, it was little cards and a couple chalky sweet-hearts. Now it seems for weeks leading up to the "big day" there are aisles at Target and Wal-mart of small Valentine's candies. Seems like a case of the retailers driving a trend– creating the expectation that each child should give candy to classmates, not just cards. That can add up with lots of kids in a class. I picked up my 3 yo with a stash of chocolate , M & Ms, suckers, tart candies all wrapped in hearts, cute plastic figures, Disney characters... The whining started before we even made it to the car.
We have a treat or more most days, and the whining is generally not an issue. There are several theories of how to handle treats etc, but I believe in and follow Ellyn Satter's strategies. (link to article or see her book Child of Mine.) Also see my January post, Let them Eat Cake...
We treated it like Halloween, and after a few days of intense interest we've gotten the whining and interest back to normal. Our usual way of dealing with treats: most days as "dessert" with dinner (a reasonable portion) and the occasional 'snack' with treats when she can eat as much as she wants. (Note, our eager eater occasionally gets ice-cream snacks and stops at about 1/2 cup all on her own. During our transition to this approach, there were snacks where she couldn't seem to get enough, but that resolved fairly quickly with consistency.)
The transition to a trusting treatment of treats takes time and often needs support. If you're being hounded for food, treats etc, consider reading Ellyn Satter's books or getting some support. Family Feeding Dynamics can do problem-oriented phone coaching. See our website.