Kids around the country say that today is their favorite of the year. It just doesn't get any better than dressing up as some one or thing you're not whilst demanding candy from random people.
This morning, I adjusted the werewolf mask on one of my twin sons and fixed the grim reaper chains on the other, and then sent them off to orchestra practice (playing the stand-up bass with sharp werewolf claws will prove to be a challenge). And then I reminded them of a few Halloween rules, as having cranky, exhausted kids coming down from a major sugar high is no fun for anyone. Here are five simple rules, adapted from my new cookbook, Real Food for Healthy Kids, that will help them -- and you -- in candyland:
1) Eat Healthy: Encourage them to eat a high-fiber lunch like California-Style Tuna Salad Rolls, and then an early dinner loaded with protein and complex carbohydrates. This will ensure that they have energy for trick or treating, and that when they return with their haul, they are not hungry and ready to devour everything in sight.
2) Abstain at Parties: If your kids go to a Halloween party this afternoon or evening, remind them they are about to have a mass of candy for days, and that this is the time to fill up more on beverages, like water, and eat less cakes, cookies, and candy.
3) Don't Eat Along the Way: While out knocking on doors, ask them not to eat their candy as they will barely notice they are eating -- but their bodies will register those empty calories.
4) Ration their Haul: When you get back from trick or treating, go through their bag to look for any suspicious or damaged goods or for allergy-triggering foods. Take two-thirds of the candy, place it in a bag, put their name on it, and place it in the cupboard. Explain to them it belongs just to them and that no one else will be dipping into their stash (then steal a fun size Snickers)...
5) Give them Daily Treats: Each day after Halloween, put a few of the smaller candies in their lunchbox with a note reminding them how much you love them or sending good wishes on a test.
P.S.: To look up the calories, fats, etc in your kids' candy, go to Nutrition Data, plug in the candy name in the search bar, select sweets, and hit search.
Tanya Wenman Steel is Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Epicurious.com, the premier food Web site. Before joining Epicurious, Steel was an editor at Bon Appétit for ten years, where she won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for Magazine Restaurant Review or Critique (2003). Prior to Bon Appétit, she was an editor at Diversion, Food & Wine, and Mademoiselle magazines. She is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and a James Beard Restaurant judge. Steel has written extensively for myriad publications, including many articles for The New York Times, as well as New York Magazine, Child, and Travel & Leisure. She appears on television frequently for Epicurious.
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