nom nom nomThis summer my family moved from the county to the city. At our old house (with a mile long driveway) we never had trick-or-treaters. This year, that will not be the case. Apparently our neighborhood can get up to 1,200 kids per house on Halloween! So I can only imagine the kind of stash my kids will get this year. Too much—considering my 3 year old has never really even had candy.
One packet of Peanut M &M's Fun Size has 90 calories and 5 grams of fat. Just multiply this times the amount of candy your child receives on Halloween and the results are not pretty. This kind of calorie and fat consumption puts your kids at risk for childhood obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. So, is it possible to keep this candy consumption to a minimum without causing major tantrums or fights from the kids? I think it is, especially with a plan.
1. Allow your kids to eat some of the candy. Halloween is supposed to be fun and I can guarantee that after working hard ringing all of those doorbells and looking cute, kids do deserve to enjoy some of the treats. If you take away all of their reward, they will consider the candy to be a "forbidden food." This places an emotion with the food, causing over consumption when they do have access to it, and will backfire later in life. Unlike adults, kids are great at self-regulating their hunger. As hard as it may be, I recommend allowing them to eat as much candy as they want for the first day or two. When given this freedom, you will be amazed how little they eat in the end.
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2. Keep candy out of sight. There is no need to display Halloween candy in a dish on the dining room table. This will encourage kids to constantly graze from it. Instead keep fruits and veggies in sight.
3. Keep the favorites, toss the rest. Let your kids pick out a few choice pieces of candy and throw the rest away. This will empower them to make food choices. I recommend discussing this tactic before going out trick-or-treating so they are prepared to get rid of some of the candy when they return home. Older kids enjoy controlling and sorting through their candy. After the first day or so of eating it, allow them to pick which candy they want to eat with a meal or snack.
4. Eat dinner before trick-or-treating. Make sure to fill your kids bellies with a healthy dinner before going out. They will eat less candy when they get home.
5. Turn piles of Halloween candy into a treat for deployed soldiers. I love this idea. It rids your house of too much candy and teaches your kids about giving.