What should you do when candy treats are brought home? Parents or a supervising adult should inspect all Halloween treats before children eat them. When in doubt, throw it out!
Halloween is the perfect time to teach children moderation in eating. Help kids include their treats in a healthy eating plan, set limits on when and how much candy they can have, and stick to those limits.
Inventory your children’s candy, and don’t let them eat too many treats at once. Let kids choose a few pieces of candy to eat on Halloween night and then eat a few pieces each day after that. Forbidding or restricting candy may cause them to develop patterns of hoarding and obsession with candy.
Teach kids that sweets can fit into their diet in limited amounts, maybe as part of a certain meal, as a snack with a fruit, etc. Combine a treat, such as a miniature candy bar, with a healthy snack like an apple. Make sure the child eats the apple first so they are less hungry for the treat. This provides them with the health benefits of the apple while teaching them healthier eating habits.
Most candy has a long shelf-life. Put the “treat stash” out of children’s reach and limit them to eating about two pieces of candy a day. Larger treats, such as chocolate candy bars, can be cut into smaller pieces and frozen. Pull them out weeks or months later for some bite-sized treats.
If your child comes home with too much candy and sweet treats, arrange a buyout. Pay a nickel or dime for each sweet treat they “sell” you, and let them “earn” money for a toy or game they want to buy.
Remember that sugary Halloween candy contributes to tooth decay. Candies do far more damage to teeth than to wrecking diet or behavior. Tooth brushing and flossing are extremely important after eating sweets or any foods that stick to the teeth.
For non-candy treat ideas, please check out Part 1 of this Halloween series!