Kids look forward to Halloween all year. This highlight of the fall season can be a frustrating time for parents, though, as they work hard to encourage kids to eat healthy foods and limit sugary treats. By having a simple game plan for the big night, parents can keep their kids on track while allowing them to enjoy their sweet stash.
“There are a variety of methods that parents use to let their kids enjoy the day but also keep their diet in balance,” said Amy Medley, health educator with the Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Child Advocacy of Norton Children’s Hospital. “Some eat extra healthy the week before; some use the candy for science experiments; and some find creative items to substitute for sweets altogether. Having a plan is the key.”
Tricks to prepare for treating
- Have your child eat a full, healthy meal prior to going trick-or-treating to reduce snacking and curb hunger once the candy starts accumulating.
- Discuss your plan for the candy before Halloween.
- Sort through all candy after trick-or-treating and discard items that are open or not age appropriate.
- Allow your child to choose a set number of candies to enjoy Halloween night.
Tips for managing the stash
- Set a limited number of pieces kids can have each night after eating a healthy meal.
- Keep candy somewhere other than the child’s room.
- Offer a candy exchange for an item of the child’s choice, such as a book or toy.
- Use candy for a science experiment or for “candy math” to practice addition, subtraction, etc.
- Allow your child to help choose a charitable cause to donate a portion of the candy to.
“One thing to keep in mind is that Halloween happens only once a year,” Medley said. “Eating sensibly during the rest of the year will have a much greater impact on your child’s eating habits than a few days of indulgence.”
For free resources on teaching kids healthy eating habits, contact the Office of Child Advocacy at (502) 629-7358 or visit NortonChildrensHospital.com/GreatPlates.