With the Halloween season in full swing, there can be a lot stress and anxiety around food choices and temptations. Especially for Halloween, with such a big focus on treats and candy. We shouldn’t be depriving ourselves and our kids of the festivities and tradition that surrounds Halloween. As a registered dietitian, my general rule is that restricting is never the way to approach a holiday. It’s part of the reason I started my nonprofit organization, Fare Meals, to educate families on healthy, simple and affordable nutrition. Everything is okay in moderation, and in fact, there should be balance in everyone’s diet in order to achieve a healthy mind and body.
Most parents will, at times, feel overwhelmed when their kids eat a lot of candy and treats which are high in sugar. Kids are drawn to these treats, but there are ways to monitor the amount of candy while letting yourself and your kids indulge.
Below are 4 ways to manage things this Halloween season:
Manage Expectations and Monitor Sugar Intake
Before Halloween, let your kids know what to expect in the days beforehand. Continue to cook your healthy meals before and into Halloween, so it won’t feel like a huge departure from your normal diet. After trick or treating, your kids will come home with a large bag or bucket of candy and the cravings will begin. A good trick is allowing your kids to choose one candy to eat each day. Let your kids choose candy for three to four days following Halloween and then after a week at most, put the candy away in the cupboard.
Stash Away The Candy
Candy is pretty shelf stable and can be enjoyed for many weeks after Halloween. Having a stash of candy can come in hand when you want to reward yourself or your kids throughout the year. This isn’t something you need to tell your kids about necessarily, but it will definitely come as a welcome surprise when the time comes. A bonus — if it isn’t in our eye line every day, we won’t be drawn to it.
Provide Healthier Options
If you're hosting a Halloween party, you can create Halloween themed fruit plates, veggie platters and cheese boards as a healthy alternative on trend with the spirit of the holiday. Pinterest is a great resource for finding innovative ideas. Having healthier alternatives is a great way to enjoy something yummy without sacrificing on taste.
Sneak In Nutrients
Simple substitutions can make a commonly unhealthy dish, more nutrient filled without sacrificing on taste. You can ditch the white flour for gluten free or whole wheat flour or even chop up some carrots to sneak into brownie batter.
Remember, Halloween should be fun and about making memories with your family rather than hyper focused on depriving yourself and your kids of the treats that come with the holiday. We’ll be breaking down some great recipes and fun ways to have a healthy Halloween on the next free webinar from my nonprofit Fare Meals on October 26th at 7pm EST. You can register for free at FareMeals.org/Events
WRITTEN BYArielle Kestenbaum