It’s just around the corner! The one day each year when kids of many ages get to dress up, pretend to be ghosts, ghouls, goblins and goofballs!
It’s also one of the worst days each year for maintaining healthy eating standards – whether you’re a kid OR a parent!
The iconic picture is the child, still in costume, asleep in a pile of candy, chocolate and other sticky goodness all over his or her face. Or the one with the child covered almost completely covered in candy and treats, with just her cute costumed face showing from under the diabetes-inducing bounty.
But how often have YOU, as a parent, seen your otherwise healthy habits done in by a bag of Halloween candy?
I know the feeling! So I’m offering 5 ideas to help avoid the Halloween diet hammer! These will help you manage the sweet treat nightmare for both you and your little munchkins!
1.Buy something OTHER than candy to hand out this year! We all remember the house in our neighborhood that handed out toothbrushes (usually the local dentist.) Quite the party-pooper, that house. But Dr. BoringBags was on to something.
If the problem is too much candy being consumed by kids, the simplest answer is stop giving them candy. Duh.
You might want to try handing out small toys or other goodies. Glow sticks are great because, in most cases, the kids will light them up – and instantly be more visible to traffic!
How about yo-yo’s, flying discs, pencils, sidewalk chalk or something else fun?
Any big box store will have a low cost option for this, or you might try Oriental Trading online.
2.Buy your Halloween candy the day you’ll hand it out. Let’s face it, if it’s sitting around your house, you’re more likely to eat it!
Yeah, I know, you’re the ONE person in the world who can resist the 2 week siren call of the bag of peanut M & M mini-packs, the KitKat miniatures or the fun-sized Snickers. Right. You’re Captain Willpower. Or not.
Just face the facts that it’s just not worth having the glycemic time-bomb lying around for more than a few hours. The gluttony force is strong in those bags…
Bonus tip: buy a candy variety you DON’T like, so you’re even less tempted to dive into the bag!
3.Be the candy sheriff! Set some rules ahead of time.
How many pieces of candy can your kids have while out and about?
How many pieces per day can they have over each of the next few days?
Are they willing to make the candy last a long time?
Make it a game they can win – and get a reward for! Each day they follow the “law,” give them a small reward. A dollar a day, some video or “tech” time or other fun reward will create a game they’ll want to play.
4.Eat a good meal before heading out to Trick or Treat or before you start manning the door to hand out candy.
The logic here is the same as that regarding food shopping. I covered the pitfalls of creating grocery lists that work in “7 Ways Your Grocery Lists Fail,” but none of them work if you go to the store hungry and start binge-buying everything your hungry self is craving.
It’s similar, but different with Halloween candy. If you’re not hungry, you’re less likely to sample. If your kids eat well before heading out, binging at home and snacking while out is less likely.
5.Find alternatives to keeping the candy.
- Donate it to a local childrens shelter.
- Participate in a candy exchange. (Local dentists often do this.)
- Donate it to the troops via one of the organizations that make it easy. Here are two:
- Create a cool exchange program right in your home. Have the “Halloween Spirit” come and take the candy in exchange for a small toy or other cool item.
An important thing to remember here is that this is not about denying children the fun of Halloween.
We simply want to be able to find ways to enjoy the fun and frivolity without sacrificing health and wellness.
Be sure to make your kids part of the planning process! And be sure to let me know what you decided on and how it turns out!