How Much Halloween Candy Do You Let Your Children Eat?
By Elyse Falk, MS, RD, CDN
My kids, like all of yours, will be trick-or-treating soon. The age-old questions always arise amongst my friends, “How much candy do you let your kids eat?” “Do you throw it all out?” “Do you donate it?” “Do you let them have a little bit of candy all week long?” “Do you let them have the candy all at once?”Photo Credit: EJP Photo via Compfight cc
I think my kids are like any other kids and love to eat their treats the night of Halloween. Heck, I love to eat the candy we are giving out and the candy my kids collect too! As a family, we know that too much candy in one night will make us feel sick (evidenced by real-life events). So, I have the kids pick a few pieces to eat on Halloween night, put the rest in zip-lock bags labeled with their names for safe keeping, and place the bags in the pantry closet. I find that if it’s not spread out on the kitchen counter all day, every day, it’s less likely that they will mindlessly snack on it. I guess my sons would say that I let them enjoy their Halloween candy but put a limit on it only when the other food groups are being left out. I may tell them to pair some pieces of candy with a nutrient-rich meal or snack. Pairing some candy like this is always an option … it gives less value to the candy.
Interestingly enough, as the week progresses, their desire for the candy diminishes. My truth is that the more I limit it, the more my kids want it. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn moderation and to always know the candy is there when they want it and that I am not going to make a big deal about it. If on any one Halloween night they do overeat the candy, it is certain that they will not feel good. I chalk that up to a teachable moment. If you treat the topic of the candy more neutrally, with less emotion or judgment, the Halloween candy won’t be a “thing” between you and your children.Photo Credit: MattL via Compfight cc
Lastly, I believe that eating some candy with your kids is a must! They need to know that eating a few pieces of candy on Halloween is okay and normal. This is especially true when you have a child who may have heard sugar and candy is a “bad” food from a friend. Remember, we as parents are role models. I hope that we can teach them that there is no “bad” or “forbidden” food and that sometimes, on occasions such as Halloween, it is okay to enjoy some candy. Happy Halloween!
We only call it treats due to Halloween but they are really candy, food, or food with lower nutrition.