While I have always been an advocate to finding balance when it comes to feeding your family, Halloween can be a tricky one. It's the time of year when candy flows and endless sugary treats make up a significant portion of a child's diet.
The issue is not just with sugar consumption on Halloween -- if it were only one night, we would be fine. The problem lies with the consumption during the build up to the holiday and the mound of candy that lingers after it's over.
One to two months of overindulgence can throw kids into a tailspin and have parents begging for the sugar highs to subside. After a number of years of dealing with this, I have found some helpful tricks to keep my kids (and myself) sane:
Buy Halloween candy a couple days before the big night. How many parents see Halloween candy in the stores early October and think they should stock up? Buying Halloween candy early only promotes the craziness. It goes into your cupboard and poses temptation not only for the kids, but also anyone looking for a sweet treat (that includes me!). Moderation doesn't work well when the house is full of candy all month long.
Hand out alternative treats to candy. I always have candy to hand out, but I also mix in some non-conventional treats such as single serve bags of Real Fruit Bites, crayons, Play-Doh and pouched fruit purees such as Squoosh or Slammers Snacks. You would be surprised how much kids love the surprise of something other than another chocolate bar.
Offer healthy, balanced party snacks. If you are hosting a party or attending one, be sure to look for fun, healthy snacks to bring to the party. There are so many fun holiday foods that are not high sugar; mummy mini pizzas, pepperoni fingers and bone breadsticks with tomato dipping sauce are some of the ideas I have done in the past.
The Halloween Switch Witch. I wrote an article a couple of years ago on the Switch Witch, which is a way to exchange some of your child's stash for a special present. When my little ones were four and five years old, I really did not want them eating their entire bag of candy. I told them they could pick their top 10 treats and put the rest by the fireplace, where the Halloween Switch Witch would come and trade their candy for a present. They loved the idea, and we've kept the tradition for six years now. I've increased the number of "to-keep candy" to 20 pieces and the witch exchanges the loot for a reasonable gift.
Moderation is the key; however sometimes, especially in the case of a bag full of candy, it can be hard to exercise. Serve that Kit Kat bar up with a bowl of turkey chili and call it a day!
What are your tips for serving up a healthy Halloween? Please share in the comments!
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