Ask the Dietitian: Managing Halloween Candy

halloween_candy_MF

Halloween candy can become overwhelming by the end of trick-or-treating!

Halloween is such a fun holiday.  The costumes, the parties, laughing at with friends…oh, and the CANDY!   When I was a kid we totally walked the entire neighborhood – we walked streets we never walked otherwise.  If we were lucky, we got to walk more than one neighborhood.  Getting a huge load of candy was definitely the goal, but it was just as much fun being with my friends and family.  At the end of the evening of trick-or-treating, I would pour out my huge pile of loot and search through for my favorites, categorize the candy, and take inventory.  What, you didn’t do that?  Then, it would usually go into my Mom’s giant yellow Tupperware bowl and go to live on top of the refrigerator for the next 10 months.  Every once in a while, I would dig in to have a treat, but since it was out of sight it was also out of mind.  I’m sure that I overindulged sometimes, but I don’t remember that.  I also don’t remember many guardrails around sugary foods.  Now, I have a major sweet tooth.  But I’ve always been pretty ok with a few bites of whatever sweet thing I want to eat and then being done.

Now that I’m a mom, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to manage this issue with my kiddo.  I don’t really want to have a giant bowl of candy on top of the fridge.  Here are some fun ways that I’ve seen and that I may try in future years.  Fortunately, this year he’s only 2, so trick-or-treating will have to wait a bit longer.  Hooray!

shipping boxes

How about sending that candy along with a sweet note to our servicemen and women?

  • After your child chooses some of his favorite to enjoy or save for later, package up the leftover candies and send them off to soldiers around the world with care packages that include other favorite comforts from home, such as personal care items, a hand-drawn picture, and a note to say “Thank you for your service.”  Teaching your kiddo about moderation with sweets, but also about gratitude, sacrifice, and patriotism is a great way to make something great out of all that sugar.
  • Trade candy for toys.  Allow the kiddo to pick some of his favorite candies out to enjoy that night and later if desired.  Then, the rest of the candy goes for trade to get a toy he has been looking forward to receiving – essentially purchasing it.  This is a fun way to teach about simple economics.
  • Again, allow the kiddo to have some of her favorite treats.  Then, put away the remaining candy and then dole it out a little at a time as sweets are allowed.  Just think – you won’t have to buy candy again for a long while!

How do you handle all that candy on Halloween night?

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