Halloween Candy: How To Avoid Too Much of a Good Thing

10/18/2016

Healthy Living - October 18, 2016
Amy Movius, MDdr-movius.jpg

For young kids (and some older kids, and some adults) Halloween is about costumes and candy. Lots and lots of candy! So much candy in fact, that it tends to linger long after October 31 has come and gone. Balancing the fun of Halloween treats while maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle for your family is challenging but still possible with a little planning.

1. It’s no secret that candy contains sugar and too much sugar is unhealthy. On Halloween night, have your kids eat a full nutritious meal before trick-or-treating. This can curb the amount of candy they eat “on the road”.
2. Limit eating leftover candy to a few a day. Childhood obesity, inactivity, and poor nutrition are topics most of us are well aware of.
3. Have your children brush their teeth immediately after eating candy. Substances that are high in sugar and stick to the teeth – like candy – are the worst for tooth decay and it is important to minimize how long they are in contact with the teeth. The recommendation is that you brush your teeth within 5 to 10 minutes after eating. For this reason (among others) eating these treats at home is better than – for example – in school lunch.
4. Keep the candy stash in a central home location NOT IN BEDROOMS. This will help discourage candy binge eating and make it easier to monitor consumption without being overbearing. It is helpful if it’s kept somewhat out of sight as well.
5. Tampering with Halloween candy is rare. However, you should still check all candy and throw away anything that is soiled, torn, or not wrapped. (Psst…this may also be a chance to throw out candy that is very sticky/gummy for the sake of their teeth. See #3)
6. Don’t keep the candy forever – all good things must come to an end! Pick a date to throw away any leftover candy and stick to it.
7. Lead by example! Adults need to stay out of the candy bowl too. Enough said.
8. “Let them eat candy”. Candy is part of the holiday festivities and banning it altogether can backfire. Children are more likely to aggressively seek out forbidden treats than those they are allowed in limited amounts.

Remember, as far as rich food and treats goes, Halloween is the “warm up” holiday for the rest of the year. That makes it a great time to plan how to keep your family healthy and fit while enjoying the whole season. Trick or Treat!