By John A. Ruibal, Prowers Medical Center Dietitian
Halloween is just around the corner and kids can’t wait to wear their costumes and trick or treat to fill their bags with all those delicious treats. The important thing for parents is not to be too spooked by all that extra sugar your kids may be eating. Here are some tips to keep it under control.
Set expectations now before the big day
All foods work in a healthy diet but it is important to let your kids know that the candy they receive on Halloween will be portioned out to eat later, so that expectations are set for you and your children. Let your kids know how much and how often they can eat their candy. To make it easier, set a limit such as two pieces a day, one in their lunch, one after school.
If your kids are young, out of sight, out of mind might work best. Take some of the candy out of their bucket and save it for later, deep in the cupboard in a brown bag. You can freeze most candy for later use. Another fun idea is saving candies for baking or using candy like sweeties to make arts and crafts. Still another idea is using some of the candy to make trail mix, along with nuts, dried fruit and whole grain cereal.
Divide it up
Have your child divide the candy they receive into two piles. The first pile is made up of their favorites. It’s the one they will keep and portion out to enjoy over the next few weeks. The second pile is candy that might not be their favorite and can be donated to a local shelter or food bank.
Resist the temptation of sale candy
Likely after Halloween you will see candy at rock bottom prices while shopping. Do your best to walk right by the sale bins. It’s important for you and your kids to think of candy as an occasional treat, not something you eat regularly.
Brush and floss
Taking care of your teeth by brushing and flossing is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. Emphasize to your child the benefits of brushing and flossing after eating sweets. Our mouth is where nutrition starts and good oral health is an important step to overall health. This is also a good time for adults to think about their brushing and flossing habits. If you or your child have not seen a dentist in the last six months, this is a good time to schedule that checkup and cleaning.
Halloween is a fun time for children and adults alike. Keeping to a few basic habits of moderation, sharing your treats, and keeping those teeth clean and healthy can make an enjoyable holiday for all.