Posted by Marianne Frederick
Halloween candy can be a genuine treat – or a scary trick – if parents don’t set limits for their children. We’re not thinking as much about childhood obesity right now as we are concerned simply about kids’ candy consumption and what parents can do to discourage the over-consumption of candy. Here are some tips:
- Serving a healthful meal before kids go trick-or-treating is a great idea, as kids fill up on the good stuff, and then may not be too hungry for candy.
- Know how much and what kind of candy your child has collected–ours empty their pillow cases brimming with candy, and display their haul on the kitchen table, so we can see what’s wrapped, what isn’t and remove any they should not have.
- Store your child’s candy somewhere other than in his room! Access to the candy is half of the battle in helping to curb the amount of candy consumed.
- Be a good role model by only consuming a small amount of candy yourself–and saving some for another day.
- Encourage your children to be aware of the amount of candy and snacks they eat, and to stop before they are aware of feeling full or ill.
- Offer non-food Halloween treats, like stickers, small toys and small games (like decks of cards or things you might find in a “party” store). You can always offer sugar-free candy, small bags of pretzels, small bags of popcorn, small boxes of raisins–even small boxes of cereal. Don’t give anything–toys or candy–on which children, especially very young children, could choke.
Schools in some communities have programs where a portion of every child’s wrapped candy can be donated to children in the hospital who didn’t have an opportunity to go trick-or-treating. Call your community hospital to learn if this is a possibility in your area and ask them what kind of candy donations are permitted or if there is a program your child can donate candy to for this purpose.
Make sure to have a safe and happy Halloween!