Yes, it’s that time of the year when many people, especially the kids, are excited for – the Halloween season. Though most parents love the idea of allowing their children to explore their imagination and dress up as the characters they love to create unforgettable childhood memories, potential exposure to a great number of candies worries many parents. However, instead of thinking about it as a “cheat day”, Halloween could be a great opportunity to teach your children about moderation and intuitive eating.
Here are some tips to help you create a healthier Halloween experience for your children without costing the fun:
- Focus on Halloween activities that keep your children moving without the presence of candies.
Active activities such as a costume parade, monster dance parties, decorating a spooky house, and games including bobbing for apples and costume tag could bring tons of fun without the need for sweets. This will also leave less time for children to collect candies.
- Prepare healthier alternatives to candy.
- Provide a nutritious, balanced meal or snack before trick-or-treating, when sorting through the candy, and every time you break out leftover candy, so the satiety is likely to limit candy intake
- Some healthy Halloween-themed snack ideas:
- Vitamin A-rich pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins
- Fiber-packed cinnamon-roasted pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkin pie dip made with Greek yogurt, low-fat cream cheese, roasted pumpkin, and spices
- Date and pumpkin energy balls
- Baked apples or pears with cinnamon, nuts, and honey
- Be strategic before, during, and after Trick or Treat.
- Before: Limit the size of the trick-or-treat bag by avoiding a pillowcase and choosing a small gift bag or pumpkin-shaped bag.
- During: Try to let the kids walk in the neighbourhood instead of driving them around. Choose to hand out mini-size candies instead of full-size bars to help them understand portion control.
- After: Normalizing Halloween candy. Try not to strictly restrict children’s candy intake and allow our children to enjoy a moderate number of candies at meals and snacks (1-2 candies/meal), so they won’t think candies are rare and will be less likely to binge eat them. If your children are not used to having a lot of sweets in the house, they might eat a lot of candies as you predicted, and that’s okay! Maybe they would have a belly ache after eating the candies, but it could be more persuasive in helping them recognize the consequences of overeating and guiding them to eat more moderately in the future.