Don’t Let Halloween Sneak Up On You…
It’s that time of year again, where parents will be busy with all sorts of Halloween related activities. For many parents, Halloween brings thoughts of parties and costumes, not to mention lots of sugary treats. Of course, as parents, you want your child to enjoy all the festivities of Halloween; but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to abandon good eating habits completely!
We have many little “tricks and treats” ideas that you can use to help manage your child’s candy desires and still have loads of fun on Halloween! Learn that with just a little bit of planning, you can avoid the stress and frustration associated with trying to limit candy. Instead, turn this into a healthy Halloween season and a fun opportunity to teach your child how to make healthy choices and include once in a while treats in their diet.
Halloween is a great time for parties and trick-or-treating for children and grown-ups too. We get to dress up as our favorite
super hero, enjoy Halloween parades and collect lots of treats along the way. It can also be a challenging time for parents who are trying to manage their child’s desire to eat all that candy!
We have put together a lots of fun alternatives to a sugary Halloween. Halloween actually offers you an excellent opportunity to teach your child about healthy eating and once-in-a-while treats. Teaching your child how to include a treat as part of their healthy eating plan, how much they can eat and when treats can be eaten all provide learning opportunities that help your child to establish healthy eating habits.
Follow these simple tips to keep your child healthy and the treats under control.
- Halloween treats show up in the stores late September. The first thing is to not fall into the marketing trap and get tempted to buy candy early, that includes the grocery line where kids will get tempted with all sorts of Halloween promotions. Buying candy too early makes it way too tempting to get into the stash before trick-or-treating even starts. Buy your candy a couple of days before Halloween.
- Set expectations early. Prepare your child the day before Halloween. Talk about how much fun it will be to go trick-or-treating but not so much fun for their body if they eat a lot of candy. It is important for kids to learn that candy is a treat that should be eaten in small doses. They can spread their candy over many days, by dividing it up. Help your child see the benefit of making Halloween treats last longer.
- Determine a reasonable number of days to enjoy the candy. Five days is a good goal. Most children will get way more candy than needed, even when they divide it up.
- Agree upon when the candy treat will be eaten. This helps your child learn that candy can be an occasional part of a healthy meal plan. You don’t want to teach your child to eat candy every day, since it is a once in a while treat.
- Discuss candy-eating rules with your child before they go out trick-or-treating. Children should not eat candy until they have come home and allowed you to inspect all the candy. This is a good rule that is part of safe Halloween. Look at the wrapping carefully for a tight seal and toss out anything that looks suspicious.
- It is best to feed your child dinner or a healthy snack such as a peanut butter sandwich and a piece of fresh fruit before going trick-or-treating. They will be less tempted to dig into their bag before they get home.
- Have your child actively participate in dividing up their candy and making little treat bags they can enjoy, one each day. This gets the child involved in the decision-making and helps them feel ownership of the process. Keep it fun! you can take advantage of the candy by playing games. For example, have your child count all of the chocolate bars or separate the candy into groups all the M&M’s in one pile, all the Skittles in another, and so on
- Using mini-sized bags, help your child pick and choose a couple of pieces of their favorite candy to place in each baggie. This helps them learn portion control, a very important part of healthy eating.
- Store the extra baggies of candy in a cabinet out of reach. It is best not to store the candy in their room to help them avoid temptation.
This Halloween plan for a healthy season that helps your child learn about healthy choices while forming a positive association with nutrition. Have a happy Halloween and watch out for all the witches, ghosts and goblins!
Written by Michelle Mirizzi
Written on Oct 12, 2009
Last updated on Oct 31, 2015