Halloween night is full of fun and
candy for the kids and craziness for the parents! While it is a grand time, it throws your evening schedule
into frenzy! Should we eat dinner
before or after? How much candy
should I let my kids eat? Should I get rid of the candy after so many days or
let my kids eat it till we run out?
With childhood obesity on the rise, many parents are concerned about how
many sweets there kids are ingesting, and for good reason. Well in my opinion, one night of trick
or treating will not make your child fat nor make you a bad parent! However, the holidays will be in full
force from here until Valentines Day.
With each holiday bringing its fair share of sweets, here are a few tips
to help you balance out the fun of the holidays with the sweet overload.
Tip 1: Have a Plan
your child’s help, make a plan for dinner. Feeding your child a healthy dinner is one key to a
successful night. A hungry kid
plus tons of candy equals a sugar intoxicated monster! Kids will overeat on
candy and ultimately not be hungry for dinner. Also, make sure he or she is well hydrated. Kids get overheated in costumes while
they are running around. They are
having fun and not concerned about their thirst.
Tip 2: Set Limits in Advance
on how long your night will be.
Have a plan on how long and how many houses you will visit. Most importantly include your child on
making this decision. This will
help avoid the “I don’t want to go” meltdowns.
Tip 3: Agree on a Candy Consumption Limit
a plan on how much candy your child can eat that night and each day
thereafter. One to three small
pieces is a good limit per night. Be
a good role model and set this limit for yourself too!
Tip 4: Provide Healthy Snacks
sure you have healthy snacks available and in sight for your kids. A bowl of cut up apples, or fruit salad
as a center piece is a better idea than a bowl full of candy. Place the extra candy out of your child’s
vision. If they see it constantly
sitting there on the counter or shelf, of course they will want it.
Tip 5: Teach and Model Moderation
not forbid candy! The more
something is prohibited or restricted, the more your kid will want it! Teach them how everything should be
eaten in moderation.
Tip 6: Do Not Attach Emotions to Candy
Do not give candy as a bribe, reward, punishment, etc. Teaching kids that food is linked to
emotions is a set up for disaster and eating disorders in the future.
Tip 7: Begin Some New Family Rituals
kids (and adults) associate Halloween with lots of candy. Set new family rituals such as pumpkin
carving, scavenger hunts, etc. so your kids have other good memories to
associate the holiday with.
Tip 8: Get Moving
The weather is fantastic right now
and may not be for long. Enjoy the
outdoors before it gets too cold and get your kids moving. Whether it’s playing in the yard,
helping pile up leaves, etc., just get your kids moving!
Bottom line: Go into Halloween with a plan so you
don’t set yourself up for failure.
Involve your kids in the planning so they feel included. Stick to your plan, but let your kids
have fun! Its one night, and they
are only small for a short while!
Estelle L. Benoit, RD, LDN