How to prevent your kids from turning into candy monsters!
By: Jodie Shield, RD
At my house when kids chant, “Trick or treat, give me something good to eat.” You know what I say? Define good. I confess – – Halloween is a nutritional nightmare for me as a mom and dietitian. It turns my kids into CANDY monsters and me into a thief. I have been known to ransack my kid’s treat bags for my beloved Butterfinger bars; my husband sneaks the Reeses! But over the years, I have developed a strategy to trick my treaters. It’s guaranteed to get excess Halloween candy out of the house before it ends up in kids’ lips or on parents’ hips. I call it the C.A.N.D.Y. clearance strategy and here’s how it works.
C – Create your own curfews. Most towns and neighborhoods designate certain hours for trick-or-treating. Where I live it’s usually from 4:00 pm until 9:00 pm. While this might work for little goblins, older ghouls can cover a lot of territory in five hours! One year my son collected so much candy, the handles ripped off his treat bag! Give your kids a shorter curfew like two hours instead. This will automatically limit their candy stash.
A – Allow kids to enjoy their candy. Studies have shown that forbidding foods makes them more desirable. So the less attention and fuss you make about them eating candy, the odds are, they’ll eat less. Just bite your tongue and remember: Halloween only comes once a year.
N – Negotiate candy-term limits. Talk with your kids before they go trick-or-treating as to how long the candy will remain in the house. At my house, the max is one week. After that, we take the remaining candy to a local nursing home or drop it off at a food pantry.
D – Dinner is a must. Serve dinner or lunch before your kids head out for their Halloween fun. A full tummy will help prevent them from gorging on candy when they get home later. Not sure what to serve? Check out some of the festive Halloween gross grub I like to serve like Spaghetti and Eyeballs!
Y – You’re in charge. Review safety rules with your kids regarding candy collection. Before they are allowed to eat anything, sort through their loot together. Then throw away any candy that’s not wrapped or has broken seals.
Since I have instituted the C.A.N.D.Y. clearance method, there’s been very little toil and trouble at the Shield household. Candy overload has been reduced and that’s a boo-tiful thing. I am constantly refining the strategy. So in the spirit of Halloween, do you have any candy-curtailing tips you could share?