As a parent or Halloween participant you may have to buy and store treats at home. You will also have to face treats galore at the office, and almost everywhere you shop. You want to be part of the celebration – but you also want to stay in control. Here are a few tips to help you limit the possible damages due to the Halloween candy tsunami:
1. If you buy in bulk packages, do not open the big bags until Halloween, it will be too tempting to dig in before Halloween. Buy them at the last minute, it will be cheaper also! Leave the bags somewhere hidden, like in the garage. If you cannot resist, ask a family member to hide it! I remember my husband and me stealing our favorite chocolate treats from the bags and the kids complaining about it. Shame on us!
2. Put a bowl of fruits in your kitchen, it will remind you to stay focused on healthy choices. Do not decorate your home with bowls of candy, you know what will happen!
3. Read the labels and do the math. You will realize that 10 “Starburst” chews equal 10 teaspoons or 40g of sugar and almost 200 calories! Not a problem for kids to have too much sugar one day, but what if it extends over weeks?
4. If your partner or a family member can take care of the candy distribution on Halloween day, ask them to do it so you will not get tempted to sample the treats each time you open, and close, the door. This was me a few years ago. I think I must have had 15-20 mini portions on that day in a few hours.
5. Put all the treats you distribute in a big opaque bag so you can’t see them while you distribute them. It is also more fun for the kids to dig in and does not allow for cherry picking!
6. If it is too challenging for you to resist, get out of the house, and treat yourself to a nice dinner or do something healthy. You can always leave the candies on your door steps!
7. Halloween may pursue you at the office, so just try to stay away from the tempting bowls and create your own healthy basket in your office. It will give a subtle message to your colleagues that you are not interested, in case they push you. And they may love your apples, oranges or nuts!
8. Be a healthy party pooper and distribute fruits or healthy snacks, or mix them with the candy. Kids/parents may love it or they may never come back!
9. Give yourself a budget, this way you will not feel deprived but will stay in control. This is what I do. I select my 4 preferred treats and have them with pleasure.
10. As soon as Halloween is over, get rid of the remaining candy immediately. Nobody will starve if you throw these candies away.
And finally, find post-Halloween strategies to manage the candy mountains at home with your kids. Here are a few tips for parents to let their kids enjoy Halloween while limiting their sugar consumption:
-Focus more on the costume than the treats. You may even negotiate with them. Get them a more expensive attire in exchange for a deal regarding the candy.
-Buy kids a small candy bucket when they go trick-or-treating. This way they will have to limit their choices and the quantity they bring back home.
-Clean the pantry after Halloween so that no candy is left. It gives a great signal to the kids that business is back as usual at home.
-Look for Halloween candy buy back programs in your area. Many dentists offer them, as you can see in this list by NJ Family Magazine.
-Manage the “candy exit strategy” with your kids, so that your kids only keep a few candy in a visible location. Make a deal, don’t let them hid a secret stash in their room as soon as they come home.
-You can also barter the candy with your kids for a healthier option, a gift or a toy.You can even create a family tradition about it.
-Kids are becoming more savvy with school education about the dangers of sugar. Attempt an experiment: take a bunch of candy with their sugar content (usually on the package, and if not on the mini versions, it will be printed on the larger package). Next to it create a pile of sugar that is equivalent to the sugar content of the candy. Each teaspoon of sugar is 4g. This will be a shock to your kids because in their minds, they do not equate candy with sugar content!
Have fun! Stay in control!