I am certainly a believer that our children are eating too much candy. In fact I wrote a book about the subject, Beat Sugar Addiction Now for Kids; about how our kids are eating their weight in sugar every year and why that is so utterly unhealthy for them.
When it comes to Halloween however, I say use this day and the weeks after as a learning opportunity for our kids. Teach them how to live in a world filled with junk food. Teach them that 1. Candy is a treat 2. You can have it sometimes and 3. You first have to eat healthy stuff first before you get your treat. Here are some great suggestions that work if you both make a plan and discuss it with your trick-or-treaters before Halloween arrives:
- Starting Halloween night, limit the amount of candy that your child can consume in one day. One small bar for young children, and two for older children for example.
- Set a time limit on the number of days that your child can eat candy: no more than a week after Halloween.
- Use that “treat time” to your advantage. If you have a child that refuses to eat his vegetables, use his one small candy bar as a bribe to get him to eat veggies only during the week after Halloween.
- Make a plan to get that stuff out of your house where both you and your child will see it, and perhaps hear it calling to you.
- Make a plan BEFORE Halloween to get rid of the candy: Here are some options:
o Operation Gratitude: Send it to our troops at http://www.operationgratitude.com/halloween-candy-buy-back-2012/
o Dentist Buy Back: See if a dentist in your area buys back candy at http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com
o Throw it Away: It’s junk, throw it away.
You don’t have to be the house that gets ‘egged’ on the block because you give out pencils. Use Halloween as a training opportunity that’s drives home two essential nutrition messages that children need to learn to grow up strong and healthy: 1. There are two groups of food, healthy food and treats 2. You can have a small amount of treats only after you eat the healthy stuff first.