With Halloween coming up, how will you navigate the holiday with your kids without going overboard on sugar, artificial colors and unhealthy oils?

I like to remember that giving my kids junk food is not showing them love.  Of course they like sweet treats — we all do, we are programmed to prefer sweet flavors!  But the excess sugar and excess insulin in our bodies as a result wreak havoc with our hormonal systems leading to:

  • Weight gain
  • A weaker immune system
  • Lowered vitamins and minerals in the body
  • Even linked to cancer

Yikes, I know, makes you feel guilty for indulging and allowing your children to do so. . .

Let’s not feel guilty.  Here are some tips to ensure you can all enjoy the holiday fully without over-doing it!

Eat a healthy dinner before you go out trick-or-treating so there is less room for treats.  (Veggie Chili is a great choice!)  If your kids go out hungry, they’ll definitely be reaching in their bags before you even get home.

Let your kids pick out a few favorites to keep.  The number is up to you, but I think 5-10 is plenty.  I let my kids have a couple small pieces that night, and they enjoy one treat per day for a couple days.

This was the scene after last year’s trick-or-treating at my house. . . and only two kids had unpacked their candy bags!

Halloween candy 2012

What to do with all the rest?

Get it out of your house or out of sight so you aren’t tempted (enjoy a piece or 2 yourself and then be done).

  1. I love the buy-backs that many hospitals and dentist offices do.  That way your kids can add to their piggy banks for non-edible treats they will enjoy much longer than the brief enjoyment of candy.
  2. Throw it out.  Wasteful I know (I have a hard time throwing away food too!), but I personally don’t mind this one.  I see the money spent as an investment in the experience of trick-or-treating.  Better in the garbage than in anyone’s body.
  3. Pack it away for art projects.  Think ahead to gingerbread houses or inventive Valentines.  Stale candy makes cute decorations!

Try to practice moderation and teach your kids the same.  Enjoy the holiday without the tummy aches!