Here are some quick strategies to have your kids eat less candy this Halloween…
THINK OUTSIDE THE WRAPPER
This year think about handing out less candy and more stickers, mini pumpkins, mini toys and dollar gifts such as fake tattoos, stick on gems, crayons, pencils, erasers or sticky notes, Try passing out more nutritious foods such as individually wrapped Fig Newtons, dried fruits , pretzels , baked chips or popcorn.
HAVE THE FAMILY EAT BEFORE GOING OUT
Make sure to feed children and yourself before trick or treating even if it is early. I guarantee your kids (and you!) will be able to manage less candy on a fuller stomach.
BUDGET THE CANDY
The amount of candy kids collect in one night goes far beyond the USDA’s advice of having approximately 250 calories of discretionary calories/ day (3). Discretionary calories are those calories that contain added fats and sugars. It is so easy to overspend these discretionary calories especially at Halloween time. In line with the USDA- budgeting these candy calories is what I recommend.
EAT THE CANDY AFTER DINNER NOT IN BETWEEN MEALS
Have candy only after dinner not as a snack or when you are hungry- if you start to eat candy on an empty stomach you will fill up on these non nutritive calories. Keep fresh fruits on the table- if you are truly hungry and apple will sound just as good as a candy bar!
HAVE HOUSE CANDY RULE!
As the parent, you are responsible not only for what and where your kids eat but when. You can definitely have them pick any 2 pieces of candy after dinner and they can have it over the next few weeks. After some time- the “best “is gone and you can chuck the rest. The younger your children- the more control you have over their food choices, timing of meals and when they eat. be an authoritarian parent- have structure, be consistent and let the kids know- “it’s because you said so!”