THE FIVE SHOCKING RULES THAT THIS DIETITIAN SWEARS BY FOR A HAPPY HALLOWEEN
Don’t buy Halloween candy too early!
And in fact, buy the candy that you don’t mind giving away. I’m not saying buy the impossible-to-unwrap-Halloween-caramels because who likes those? I would recommend buying the candy that is not your personal favourite. I’m a chocolate girl, so I buy the gummy candies to give away. This is because I’m less likely to have a package of sour patch kids with my coffee versus a kitkat bar!
Prepare for Trick-or-Treating with a nutritious supper!
Set your kids up for success on Halloween night by making a nutritious, quick and easy dinner meal. You may be eating supper at 4:30pm on Halloween night because the littles are itching to get out the door, but make sure everyone sits down to enjoy a family meal before heading out. This will help make sure that their bellies are full and they’re feeling energized (they probably won’t need too much help here). But with a satisfied belly the kids are less likely (fingers crossed) to devour their Halloween candy immediately upon returning home.
Don’t be the Candy Police.
Keep your commentary positive. This means not villainizing candy in front of your kids. The goal is to create a positive food environment so that the kids grow up to have a happy and healthy relationship with food. Labelling food as good or bad, commenting on quantity and quality that they’re eating, or saying “we don’t eat that in our household” are all negative comments that can steer kids towards an unhealthy food relationship. Remember, it’s their responsibility to determine “how much” to consume, even if this might lead to a tummy ache (hint: natural consequences are always the most powerful!). And by labelling food as “bad” kids may feel “bad” for consuming it. Halloween ranks high on kids’ favourite holidays (and for good reason). Talk to your kids about self-regulation and encourage them to listen to their tummies. And remember, not every night is Halloween night 🙂
Let them explore their hard-earned haul. Let them sort through it, play with it, and trade with their siblings! I used to love using chocolate bars as building bricks and trying to convince my sister to give me all her Coffee Crisps. Try making a rainbow of colours using the candy packaging, or let them line their candy up from least favourite to most favourite. Playing with it might help them slow down on the consumption part!
Halloween doesn’t have to be a parents (and teachers) worst nightmare. Use it as a learning experience with how to manage treats and how to practice mindfulness and self-regulation. Remember that the holiday does end, and the candy will disappear, because every parent deserves a coffee break treat!
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!
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Post written by: Lesley Langille, MS, RD, approved by Sarah Remmer, RD