Have a Happy Halloween, Avoid the Sugar Overload
The Do’s & The Do Not’s
If you have children in your household you may be dreading the annual Halloween candy hunt. As much as we want to instill good eating habits, all Hell breaks loose on Halloween as trick or treat’rs gorge on sugary sweets.
“It’s important to have a plan in place to make Halloween a learning experience instead of a time of overindulgence,” Dr. Dina Rose, PhD. an eating habits expert and sociologist who has been training parents, pediatricians and dietitian on how to teach children to make food choices, here are her tips, as follows:
- Set up a candy container. All the candy from Halloween goes into one place. Then set up parameters within your household as to how much and how often candy can be enjoyed. This helps create good habits. The new candy is already mixed into your established sweet treat routine and is not considered an additional supplement.
- Turn eating the candy into a sensory game. Dr. Rose says that it’s important that kids and adults alike take the time to feel, smell and touch the treat before even tasting it. This makes us more aware of our actions and helps overcome picky eating. Sensor exploration can be a fun game that helps children lay a foundation of healthy eating habits for a lifetime. Food is appreciated, and not taken for granted.
- Limit the Collection. The best way to do this is to limit the number of homes they visit. You can also make sure that the Halloween bag is smaller than suitcase. Also place the emphasis on the whole Halloween experience, the decorations, and the costumes and not all about the Candy.
- Threaten to dump the candy. “We want children to collect as much as they please, but we do not want them to eat it all at once,” says Dr. Rose. “Dumping candy can prompt children to start gorging or hoarding because they fear their coveted prize will soon disappear, creating a scary start to a lifetime of bad eating habits.”
- Do not fill up on food 1st. Give them a small dinner before trick-or-treating and remind them to pay attention to how their tummies feel if they snack along the way.
- Do not focus on nutrition. It is misguided to talk about nutrition in the same breath as Halloween candies. “Telling your child that the candy is unhealthy will not stop them from wanting to try it, sometimes crave it, or start eating broccoli instead. Rather use the strategy to talk about handling the ‘big buffets’ of life.”
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively