Halloween is here, and every parent’s nightmare is about to come true. Kids running around the house screaming, and perhaps even getting sick from their sugar high. Every child, and maybe adult, is going to eat some candy and sugar on Halloween. That’s ok, Halloween is meant to be a fun day filled with costumes, scary stories, and candy.
Halloween, and really any day of the week, is all about balance. This candy-filled holiday is just one day of the year; so allow your children to eat the candy, but think of some ways to incorporate some nutrition into their day as well. For example, make sure your children eat healthy meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hopefully those nutritious foods will leave less room for candy. There are a lot of great ideas out there to make Halloween-themed, healthy snacks. Make guacamole that is green slime, or white chocolate covered strawberry’s that look like ghosts.
For those sweet treats that are being offered, think about the portion. Get mini-sized candy bars, cupcakes, and cookies. Serve your children the treats instead of leaving them out, where hands can grab and eat as many as they want.
We know we’re going to eat candy, but don’t forget to get up and move on Halloween. When trick or treating, have the children walk from house to house. If you’re having a party, have plenty of games for people to play. When you are up and moving, you’re not only burning the calories from the candy, but you are too busy and forget about eating. When the focus is on more than just the sweet treats, you tend to eat less of them.
When the holiday is over, and the Calendar reads November, it’s time to put the candy away. You can still allow your children to enjoy the treats they received, but consider mindful enjoyment. Out of sight out of mind is my favorite theory when it comes to limiting my sweet tooth. When I put foods away, I tend to forget they are there, and suddenly no longer have the cravings for certain foods.
Halloween is just one day a year, so enjoy your treats and take the time to teach your child how to enjoy sweet treats mindfully.
Monica Nagele MS/RD is the Purdue Extension Montgomery County Extension Director, Health and Human Science Educator. She can be reached at 765-364-6363 or monicanagele@purdue.edu