For my kids, Halloween is a magical holiday: they spend countless hours imagining themselves as their all time favorite characters, plan out an elaborate map with their friends of must-stop-at-houses based on last years “loot”. The imagination that goes into the planning is awesome, it’s just the goods they bring home are rarely the healthy kind (maybe we need some Amrita Halloween treats next year!). Only the power of Christmas can overshadow the imagination of Halloween and its month-long sugar high. In the grand scheme of things however, Halloween is another holiday that facilitates over consumption of something meant to be enjoyed in small doses. So we recommend a few tips to scale back the unhealthy aspects of Halloween while preserving all the fun!
- Join in the holiday spirit with your children with Halloween themed games, movies, carving pumpkins, and other crafts! This will keep you and your children active instead of thinking about candy.
- Keep the candy meant for trick-or-treaters hidden until Halloween. You and your family will be less likely to give into impulsive eating and dip into the stash.
- Since it is inevitable that your children will be eating a lot of candy post Hallows Eve, cut down on sugar leading up to the day. Do your best to avoid sugary breakfasts, snacks and desserts to offset the spike later.
- Create healthy snacks that follow the Halloween theme. Guacamole makes a great slime !
- Control your child’s haul by the size of the bag they are allowed to bring. Discontinuing the pillow case tradition and exchange it for a smaller, more manageable bag.
- Suggest and promote a one piece per house rule. This will teach self control to your kids while not forcing them into submission.
- Feed your kids a healthy and filling meal before they trick-or-treat. Since they are full, they are less likely to eat while partaking in the festivities.
- Complement candy with non-edible items. Stickers, temporary tattoos, bubbles and other Halloween themed knickknacks will offset a little candy consumption while still being fun.
- Don’t allow your kids to stash the candy in their rooms, this will only lead to binges. You hold the candy, you hold the cards.
- Make sure your children are brushing their teeth. The increase in sugar consumption makes this a top priority in order to keep their chompers healthy.
- Institute an allowance system for candy. If your children meet certain requirements, they are allowed a controlled amount of candy. Tier the structure so your children strive to reach the top. My kids have 12 bags when they come home and divide up the candy to be enjoyed throughout the year!
These are just a few suggestions to try and mitigate the classic Halloween sugar rush. The road to a healthier Halloween starts with you. Please feel free to share some of your ideas with us or pass along our tips to your friends.