Halloween candy. The two words are virtually synonymous for most children here in the U.S. Parents who are normally very mindful of their kids’ candy consumption may think of Halloween as an all-out free-for-all or maybe they simply don’t want to be the big, bad witch that takes away all the fun.
The good news is that with a little preparation and creation of new traditions, parents can create a good balance between allowing their children to enjoy Halloween (and yes, eat some candy), without overindulging.
Tip 1: Balance
First, let’s consider that Halloween is full of treats, with some kids collecting anywhere from 4,000-7,000 calories worth of candy in one night! If your children eat healthy most of the time, it’s ok to let them have a few pieces of candy on Halloween and the days that follow. It’s all about balance and eating the treats in moderation.
Tip 2: Keep it Fun
The American Dental Association launched the “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign, offering coupons that parents can distribute for online games that educate kids about how too much candy can lead to cavities. Another way to keep Halloween fun without focusing on candy is to help your child create their Halloween costume. Being involved in creating their Halloween costume will allow them to focus on other aspects of Halloween besides the junk food.
TIP 3: Fuel Up
Fill up before trick-or-treating. If your children have a healthy meal before hitting the streets they are less likely to munch on candy throughout the night. If you are going to spend more than an hour or two trick or treating, bring some healthy snacks along (i.e. cheese sticks, whole grain crackers and hummus, grapes and cheese). For some creative Halloween healthy treats, check out this Pinterest board.
Tip 4: Stay Active
Encourage children to walk from house to house rather than driving them around. This will help to promote exercise while collecting candy.
Tip 5: Don’t Buy Candy in Advance
We’ve all done it before. We buy candy a week or two before Halloween and end up eating it all and having to go out and buy more to hand out on Halloween. If you wait until the day of Halloween you will save empty calories and money. For tips on choosing healthier Halloween candy, check out this infographic which categorizes candy by fat and sugar content.
Tip 6: Create a New Tradition
Plan to visit a local haunted house or create your own Halloween themed activities. Have a family pumpkin carving day. Come up with different recipes for roasted pumpkin seeds. Bob for apples. You get the idea. Another great way to involve kids is to let them pick out some non-food related treats to give out (i.e. pencils, erasers, stickers).