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This Dietitian’s Approach to Halloween

Time flies and it’s already Halloween again! The influx of candy, chocolate and chips can make some parents feel anxious. As parents, we want our kids to experience all the fun, like carving pumpkins and dressing up, but it’s normal to feel uncomfortable or not sure about how to handle all the candy that will be entering the home. You’re not alone!

My philosophy and approach to sugars is in line with the Division of Responsibility, created by Ellyn Satter. I set realistic expectations. Too much of something (like sugars) can be harmful, but to expect ourselves and our kids to completely abstain from all added sugars is completely unrealistic. By forming our own healthy relationships with food and modelling these healthy behaviours, we can avoid over-consumption of foods (and sugar) becoming a “problem”. 

The goal of Ellen Satter’s approach is to raise kids who can eat intuitively, making decisions about how much to eat that align with their body and needs. This helps build skills that kids will use for the rest of their lives, fostering healthy eating and a healthy relationship with food. 

How to apply this approach for Halloween 

This year, I plan to offer Halloween candy with meals and/or with snacks throughout the entire month of November. A little bit each day or a few times a week takes the novelty out of these foods and often results in kids just having a couple on Halloween night. It may be surprising to hear, but kids with the least food rules often don’t even eat all the Halloween candy they bring home! It ends up sitting in a bowl in the cupboard for months on end. 

When your kids come home with pillowcases full of candy, try to take the focus off the candy and talk about the costumes they saw while they were out, what their favorite house was to visit and why, who had the best costume, did they see friends, etc.

At the same time, if the kids seem very excited about the candy, don’t ty to divert that convo. Engage with them and get inquisitive – ask them which one they will try first, which one is their favorite, show them which one is your fav, etc. A healthy conversation can go a long way. 

If Halloween candy has been an issue and a constant battle in the past, or like us, this is only your first or second time taking your little one out trick-or-treating and you’re nervous about what to expect, give this approach a try!

Happy Halloween!


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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