I have two girls, ages 4 and 6. I would love to say that they both prefer fruits and vegetables over candy but I'm here to tell you, that is not the case! In fact, in this overly-sugared American society and with exposure to so many treats, they have developed their own love of sweets. In our home we limit the types of desserts we buy; we opt for dark chocolate over milk and choose confections made with whole ingredients over processed. Therefore, in some respects, Halloween takes on an even bigger meaning for them. They are very much looking forward to all aspects of Halloween; the costumes, the hanging with friends, the going out at night, and, of course, the candy.
That said, I do have some practical tips that could help ensure our children don't overindulge this holiday. I've learned (so far) as a parent that the best thing we can do is teach good habits and behaviors. Ultimately, they make their own choices. As long as we teach and educate, we are doing what we can. That goes for Halloween candy, too!!
5 Ideas To Try This Halloween:
- Prepare and Fill Up on a Big, Nutritious Meal - Prior to going out trick or treating, make sure you and your loved ones have a big, nutritious meal. Get all of those nutrients in their systems so they can have a little leeway for snacks coming later that evening!
- Buy Non-GMO Candy: Big food manufacturers like Mars and Hershey produce cheap candy made with GMO ingredients. There ARE other options out there. Annie's makes a delicious gummy snack made with real fruit, and Whole Foods offers organic lollipops made with fruit. It's still delicious from a child's point of view, and you can feel good about offering something more sustainable. Food Babe has a great article listing some delicious alternatives: http://foodbabe.com/2012/10/10/does-your-favorite-candy-have-gmos/.
- Limit the Number of Candies Eaten: As a rule of thumb I usually have a rule of two pieces of candy that night. They can go through their loot and decide which two they want to eat, like, NOW! Then the rest of the candy has an expiration date. A week after Halloween, the candy goes "bad". The key is not to let the candy linger. After a couple of days, my kids tend to forget about it anyway as the novelty has worn off.
- Give out Non-Food Items: Although a little non-traditional, try offering toys and trinkets like tatoos and pencils and glow sticks. Still kid-friendly and fun!
- Relax and Let Go: Sometimes, it's okay to be "bad". There is nothing wrong with children seeing this is the exception rather than the rule. This is a special occasion and is to be treated as such. Heck, maybe a glass of wine is in order for us, too!! Relax, indulge, enjoy, and move on.
What are some of your tips for a healthy and happy Halloween?
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