If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me if I hand out candy on Halloween I would be rich (not really rich but you get my point) I never resorted to mini boxes of raisins, pencils or stickers. Another common question – Do I allow my kids to eat the candy they get while Trick or Treating. My answer is always the same – Yes I hand out candy and Yes my kids were/are allowed to eat the candy they were given. FYI – That is a picture of son #2 and yes, his head is inside a rotten pumpkin!
For those of you who have followed the blog for a while, this should not be a surprise. I take a lifestyle approach to healthy eating and feel strongly that people (kids in this instance) need to learn how to deal with food in many different situations. Does this mean I let my kids eat until they got sick? No, but I highly doubt that a child, who has a healthy attitude towards food, would in fact overdo it to that point.
I have found that in these types of situations the BIGGER DEAL we make out of Halloween candy, the BIGGER DEAL it becomes.
MY TIPS for the BIG NIGHT
Get something into your child’s belly before they head out the door. I doubt this will decrease candy consumption but it may help how they deal with the candy they do eat a bit better. Excess sugar on an empty belly usually does not sit well
Prior to the big day, sit down and chat with your kids and decide on a plan that works for your family. This will vary from one family to another depending on the ages and personalities of the children etc… Not eating candy while trick or treating is usually a good idea as you may want to check the candy for safety ,allergens etc… Maybe you agree to letting them eat what they want that night and then have a plan in place for the following days. Perhaps you agree to 2 candies per day that they get to pick out themselves. Many families like to have the Halloween treat take the place of dessert or a snack they may normally have. The point is, let the children be involved in the decision, this sets the stage for how they will deal with other food related situations.
Another helpful tip is to have the children only keep the candy that they really like. My boys would dump all their candy on the floor and trade with each other first and then I would have them make a pile of all the candy they did not absolutely love. Again – THEIR CHOICE. We would then bag up that candy and either donate it to the food pantry in town so others could have treats or send it in with Dad to work. Why eat something that you don’t truly like?
Put the focus on all the other FUN aspects of the holiday such as carving pumpkins, decorating the house and picking out a costume. I always loved it when my kids had a Halloween soccer tournament and they decorated their faces and wore costumes for the game.
Food is usually an integral part of holidays and celebrations. Teaching your children how to deal with these situations is a lifelong gift.
If you know you are going to nibble while the festivities are going on try to put something out that you can nibble on that is healthy. Veggies and humus or popcorn with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on it.
Brush your teeth or chew gum – the candy will not taste nearly as good when mixed with mint toothpaste. Really, try it! Not tempting at all.
Make sure to drink enough water during the day. Hunger is a symptom of dehydration. That combined with a sugar headache can make you feel hung over in the morning!
Be sure to exercise on October 31. Think about all the effort you put into your workout being negated by a few mini 3 musketeer bars.
Wear tight-fitting clothes. This may seem like an odd tactic but if you switch into loose-fitting sweats it is easier to snack away.
If you decide to indulge (remember this is the Forever Diet), wait until the end of the night. Sit down and enjoy what you are having and be done with it. Chances are, if you start snacking at 4:30, it may be a long, sugar nibbling kind of night.
If someone at work has a bowl of candy out to share with everyone and you walk by it several times a day – change your route! Those handfuls of candy corn can really add up! FYI -19 pieces have 140 cals and 32 grams of sugar (7.5 teaspoons)
To Your Health and Happy Halloween – Noreen RD