Monday, October 28, 2013


I'm a dietitian, I try eat well most of the time and too much candy makes my kids insane. But guess what? I'm not against Halloween! In fact, I love it! Despite the fact that my older son recently whined "I only get homemade candy! I just want something from a box!", candy is actually part of our lives. My kids will go from supper, to dessert, and back to their broccoli.

Halloween is a fun tradition and I think one of the best times to teach kids how to navigate our world of processed and high sugar foods. Start the night with a healthy, but favourite, supper. Don't make a big deal about it, or demand all the vegetables be eaten. Just enjoy supper together, talking about the fun night ahead. 

For parents of young children, control the number of houses you visit. That automatically controls how much candy you collect. Giving candy out is just as fun for young kids. That night, don't really sweat how much candy they eat. I believe restricting it, forcing them to choose just one etc. is just going to make them want it more. Sort the candy, have a few pieces and then pack it away, brush their teeth, and head to bed. You can even offer a healthy bedtime snack like an apple if they are hungry.

For older kids, start the evening the same way. Then, they may go out for a while, but put a reasonable time limit on it. Cut off at 8:00 pm or so. Then end the night the same way, offering up a healthy bedtime snack and heading to bed.

Teens shouldn't be trick or treating anymore!! Offer up other fun ways to celebrate Halloween. A party, or dressing up and making the house spooky for younger kids. They can still have candy that night, don't feel sad for them!

Adults? Don't buy too much candy. Don't buy a lot of your favourites, although a small amount can be fun while you're handing candy out. Get more generous as the night progresses! And don't buy discount candy afterwards!

Treat Halloween as a fun, one off kind of night! Don't buy snack size chocolate bars all year. There is far too much focus on good or bad foods, and that feeling of trying to deprive ourselves generally leads to over-indulging. 

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