By Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS
Let’s get real: despite your best efforts it’s highly unlikely that your child(ren) will go without at least some candy this Halloween. And that’s ok; balance is the key to any holiday. By setting expectations, doing a little prep work, and focusing on things other than the candy, you can have a happy and healthy Halloween with your kids this year.
Here are my tips on how to do that:
1. Set a limit of the number of candies your children can have, and discuss with them ahead of time to set expectations. When they get home from trick or treating, have them pick out their favourites up to the number you agreed upon. Then, take the rest of their collected candy and add it to what you’re giving out at the door. It will all be gone by the end of the night, and no extra candy will be around to tempt kids or adults.
2. Make some healthy treats ahead of time. Have these on hand to deal with the sugar demands instead of the highly processed refined sugar packed treats. Here’s a couple of delicious ones that you can make: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6597/Halloween-Candy-ReMix-Mounds-and-Peanut-Butter-Cups.html
3. Consider having a toys only giveaway at your house. Simple things like stickers, pencils, and such. Then there won’t be any leftovers hanging around that can be eaten. Any extra toys you can make a trip to a local shelter or not for profit youth program with your kids, and donate them to those in need.
4. Let your kids know that any piece of candy has to be accompanied by a healthy snack. Make it something that will help to balance out their blood sugar such as raw nuts and seeds, avocado or nut butter on a slice of whole grain toast, hummus and veggies, apple slices and nut or seed butter, or a fruit lower in natural sugar content like berries or a pear.
5. Space out the treats. Pick a day of the week, like Saturday’s, and set that as their Halloween treat day. Until their candy is gone, they get one piece once a week on that day of the week. (Or some other spacing that works for you such as once every three days.)
6. Focus on crafts. Set up fun projects like carving pumpkins, making ghosts, drawing ghouls and goblins. Make the holiday more about fun creativity than candy.
7. Once those pumpkins are carved use the pumpkin seeds for a delicious and healthy snack! Wash and dry seeds thoroughly. Preheat your oven to 300F. Toss the seeds with enough coconut or olive oil to coat, a sprinkle of sea salt and any other flavoring you’d like such as cayenne or smoked paprika. Bake seeds for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Boost your immunity to protect your overall health. There’s lots of colds and flue going around right now, and sugar depresses the function of your immune system Balance out any sugar intake by including probiotics (supplements or from food), vitamin d and lots of vitamin c from foods like citrus and bell peppers.
Once you’ve prepared and have set healthy boundaries, then just relax and have fun. A small amount of candy won’t do any lasting harm, and you will have achieved a good balance for you and your family.