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A Dietitian-Approved Halloween

Ok, healthy eating tips and tricks are my jam, but I’m not a total buzzkill when it comes to Halloween treats – I promise! I get many questions around this time of year from parents asking what they should do. The answer? Go with what is right for you and your family, all while considering the different strategies below for some ideas and inspo! 


  • Separate the loot into two piles. 


Let the kids choose a few pieces of candy that night after trick-or-treating and then separate the rest of their stash into “keep” and “don’t keep” piles. From the “keep” pile, add a treat to their lunches every day for the week following Halloween. It can also be helpful to keep the candy out of sight. Most kids tend to forget about the candy once the excitement of Halloween is over. 


  • No limits! 


Let the kids fully embrace the sugar-coated, chocolate and candy filled aspects of Halloween. Let your kids eat as much as they want on Halloween and the day after. On the third and fourth day, limit it to having one along with a healthy snack. By then most kids have lost interest in it. At the same time, make the Halloween experience about more than just the candy. Plan a meal with friends or family before going trick-or-treating, or meet afterwards for a celebration and make the focus on being with friends and family. 


  • Set limits and give opportunities to trade treats for other fun activities.


Let older kids (4+) have as much candy as they like on Halloween night, even if it means they may go overboard, eat too much and not feel great. We learn by making mistakes! As hard as it might be to watch our kids gorge on treats, this will teach them to moderate how much they eat in the future. If they do feel ill, use it as an opportunity to talk about it. Ask them why they think they feel that way and what they could do the next time so they don’t feel like that. When it comes to eating treats after Halloween night, you can set designated eating times (for example, after dinner) and limit how much they can have in one sitting. If you want to set a limit to manage how much candy they bring home, send them out with smaller buckets/bags or set a time limit to how long they can be out. You can also give them the opportunity to trade their sweets for other fun activities, like a trip to an indoor play space, park or movie. 

Remember that Halloween is only one day, and it’s important to look at what kids eat the other 364 days. If you follow a generally healthy diet full of veggies and fruit, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins, a few sweets here and there won’t hurt. While I most definitely don’t recommend routinely serving candy to kids, I do believe that it’s our jobs as parents to make sure they grow up with healthy eating competence. This includes fueling their bodies with healthy foods most of the time, all while enjoying pleasurable foods in moderation, without feeling guilty. 


Jenn Giurgevich is the founder of Spark Nutrition & Health, a virtual nutrition consulting business.
Visit www.sparknutritionandhealth.ca for more information.


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