It’s hard to believe Halloween is next week! Today Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC is back to share some tips on how to best handle the influx of Halloween candy that’s about to appear! For more from Crystal check out her tips on how to get your toddler to eat what you want!
It’s that time of year where treats are plentiful, and kids cannot wait to dig through a long-awaited and hard earned stash of candy.
For some parents, treats being the focal point and central part of Halloween can be a source of added stress and anxiety. After all, how healthy can it be to let your little ones have so many Halloween treats?
Surveys have indicated that a majority of parents will take steps to ensure their kiddos don’t overindulge on Halloween candy, and in theory, that seems like a logical thing to do. After all, we want our kids to be able to strike a balance between treats and nutritious foods and not go overboard on foods that may not be as healthy for their growing little bodies.
It’s not uncommon for parents to try all the things to somehow get their kiddos to give up those treasured holiday treats for fear of them eating too much of candy.
Have you ever tried any of these Halloween Candy tactics with your kids?
- “The Switch Witch”: Candy is taken by the Switch Witch at night and replaced with gifts
- Cashing in Candy for Toys
- Buying Candy from Kids
- Hiding it, Giving it Away or Throwing it Out
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these methods, these are really just a short-term, temporary solution to a long-term issue. Kids will have exposure to candy and desserts throughout their lives, and if they are not given opportunities to learn how to eat them, these foods can create chaos for them over the years.
Research has found that kids who are restricted from having sweets and treats may actually become more obsessive about them. Other studies have found that excessive controlling feeding tactics can cause a child to overeat forbidden foods (like dessert, candy, etc) when they do get access to them.
So what is a mama to do? If you want your child to have a healthy relationship with food, learn how to manage their intake no matter they are eating, and not feel obsessive about sweets (whether on Halloween or on any special occasion), here are some approaches you can try:
Keep it Neutral:
Our language and actions around food can influence how our children feel about those foods. It’s easy to categorize candy and dessert as “bad” or “unhealthy”, but this kind of language only tells our children that these foods are not safe to eat. Keeping foods neutral helps children have a more moderate and balanced approach with all foods as they grow.
Keep it in Sight:
“Out of Sight, Out of Mind”, right? When it’s kids and their Halloween Candy, not so much. When we hide or throw away candy and treats, we are telling our kids that they cannot be trusted to eat these foods. When kids know they had a bucket full of candy, and now that candy is hidden or locked away, it only makes those treats even more desirable. Keep your child’s candy in a familiar spot with an understanding of how/when they can access it.
Keep it Within A Meal Schedule:
After Halloween night, let your kids continue to have treats from their candy loot within scheduled meals and snacks. This allows your child to have the candy that they may still be excited about along with other nutritious foods that can help balance it all out. This approach also helps neutralize candy, and with repeated exposure, many kids will naturally begin to lose interest in it on their own.
Keep it Relaxed:
At the end of the day, remember that it’s just candy. Enjoy the holiday with your kiddo and remember that the treats, sweets, and festivities will not ruin you or your child in any way. Allowing your child the chance to eat their candy actually helps them learn how to respond to their innate feeding signals, which they can effectively do without any interference on our part.
Happy Halloween to you and your little ones! What treats are you looking forward to enjoying together?
If you would like some extra support with learning how to effectively help your child manage Halloween sweets, please join me for my upcoming FREE online class, “How to Deal With the Halloween Candy Overload Without Losing Your Sanity”. Hope to see you there!
Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Virtual Nutrition Coach for moms & mama of 5. Crystal is passionate about helping mamas nurture a peaceful relationship with food & their bodies so they can confidently nourish their kids, end the battles at the dinner table and bring joy back to eating. Find more motherhood and meal time inspiration on her blog and follow her on Instagram @crystalkarges