A Healthier Halloween: 6 Tricks to Keep Your Kid from OD’ing on Sugar
|October 28, 2014||Posted by Stacy under Halloween, Halloween Candy, Healthy classroom treats, Junk food in school|
I know what some of you are going to say: It’s only once a year! (Except, well, it isn’t.). Don’t ruin it for the kids! (Please stop, I’m NOT!). So before chewing me out, keep reading. Because I’m not proposing banishing all Halloween candy or anything over-the-top like that. Instead, I bring you the Sensible Mom’s Guide to a Healthier Halloween.
6 TRICKS TO KEEP YOUR KID FROM OD’ING ON SUGAR
#1: Focus on fun (not food!) at the class party. Avoid the sugar issue altogether by foregoing the food at school. Last year, my son’s 2nd grade class had a blast with Pumpkin Bowling. All you need is a pumpkin (preferably without a large stem) and a set of plastic bowling pins (we borrowed some from the school P.E. teacher). Witch Hat Ring Toss, Halloween Feel Box and pumpkin decorating are other fun activities that will keep them entertained. Chances are, they won’t even notice the food is missing!
#2: Serve healthy snacks without added sugar. If you simply can’t get away without food at the school party, talk to parents about bringing healthy, non-sugary items like clementine pumpkins, popcorn, full moon crackers with bat cheese or Green Zombie Soup (if you dare!). (For ideas, see Fun & Healthy Halloween Treats: 15 Nut-free School Party Ideas that Kids (and Parents!) Will Love or Real Mom Nutrition’s 8 Healthy Treats for Classroom Halloween Parties.).
#3: Add toys to the candy bowl. I hate being left with a bowl of candy on top of what my kids bring home. So I add glow sticks, bouncy balls, glow-in-the-dark fangs and other little toys and non-food items to the mix (at a ratio of about two-thirds toys to one-third candy). After getting so much candy, I feel many kids are happy to see another option–and, of course, it’s helpful for preschool-age children and kids with food allergies and preschool age kids. (See Teal Pumpkin Project.).
#4: Watch the sugar during Halloween week. I talk to my kids about laying off the sweets on the days before Halloween. If they ask for something sugary (like chocolate milk), I give them a choice: You can have it or we can go trick or treating. They rarely ask twice.
#5: Invite the Switch Witch. Each year, I offer my kids the option of trading in candy for a small toy or other coveted item such as an umbrella or gift card. They’ve chosen to make the switch every time. They pick their favorite candies out of their stash and the rest gets tossed. (Wasteful, yes, but I don’t feel good about giving it to a food bank or even the troops.).
#6: Don’t micromanage the stash. On Halloween night, I try not to overmonitor what my kids eat–though I may remind them to save some and that they don’t want to end up with a tummy ache. Whatever is leftover (after the Switch Witch swoops in) remains under their control. But we do work together to determine some “ground rules” on how much candy is reasonable to consume each day (usually one or two pieces).
How do you handle the Halloween sugar massacre in YOUR house and school classrooms? Please scroll down to leave a comment.