Don’t Let Halloween Spook the Nutrition out of Your Kids!

Halloween and nutrition don’t exactly go together as do witches and brooms. I know, as a parent, I’m wondering how to balance the fun of the holiday halloween candyalong with the health of my young daughter. All foods have some place in our diets. Candy is one that should appear less often than most. Here is my advice regarding how to handle all the candy your kids bring home from Trick or Treating.

Keeping a nutritious mind on Halloween:

  1. Before Trick or Treating, as in the night before so you have their full attention, explain what the ground rules are going to be for the candy. Make sure they know what to expect ahead of time.
  2. Some example ground rules could be:
    1. The kids can pick 5-10 of their favorite candies from trick or treating to eat Halloween night. Save the rest and choose 1-2 candies to have each day from there forward.
    2. Let them keep half the candy, and allow them to eat a few pieces every day until it’s gone. Create a project where they give the other half away in little treat bags to people who might appreciate the thought (i.e., the mailman, the school secretary, grandma and grandpa, etc.)
    3. Pick a handful of candy to eat at designated times. Give the rest of the candy to both parents to take to work.
  3. Remember the ground rules. They may start whining about what their friends get to do and how unfair you are as their parents. You are in charge; you make the rules; therefore, you must enforce the rules.
  4. In addition, remember that a moderate amount of candy in one day is not the end of the world. Eating a little candy every day for a number of days is not all that bad either; however, having no rules relating to eating the candy can result in unnecessary sugar consumption in short periods of time. This will likely result in a huge crash in behaviorIt can start as hyperactivity and quickly escalate to emotional outbursts, anger or aggression and feeling ill. Also, they will probably not have an appetite for other food, making mealtimes a definite struggle.
  5. Be conscious to not use candy as a reward. It sends a message that there is some great value in candy when you use it as the ultimate reinforcer for what you want them to do. This will turn into a continuous battle once you decide that you don’t want to reward them with candy.

I will leave you with a few nutritious, kid-friendly Halloween recipes to balance all the candy:

Edible Eyeballs- carrots, cream cheese, pitted black olives
Slice carrots into 1 inch thick rounds, and top each with a blob of cream cheese and one half of a pitted black olive.
From 2009

Eerie Eyeballs- apples, apricots, dried cherries or raisins
Slice apples horizontally so that you have ¼ inch flat disks; cut out the core centers. Slice apricots carefully in half (lengthwise) and place sticky side down onto the apple rounds. Do the same with raisins or dried cherries and place stick side down onto the apricots.
From 2009

Witches Fingers- carrots, block of white cheddar cheese or string cheese, sliced almonds, peanut butter, cream cheese.
Use baby carrots or peeled thin carrots and put a small dab of peanut butter on the top of one end. Place one sliced almond on the peanut butter so that it is held in place. This is the witches fingernail and the carrot is the finger. Do the same with the cheddar or string cheese by slicing it into finger-like shapes and putting the almond on using a dab of cream cheese. Arrange on a plate and be sure to slice in “knuckles”.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Just add a few dollops of canned pumpkin and a little sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon to your favorite pancake batter. Try pouring the batter into greased pumpkin-shaped metal cookie cutters on the griddle to make festive shapes.


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