Halloween is a fun time for adults and children alike to indulge in costumes, scary movies, haunted houses, themed parties and of course sweet treats. What’s the season without trick-or-treating, anyway? Candy is the quintessential staple for Halloween fun. Sugar binges have become the norm for this holiday for both kids and parents (candy is tempting!) but you can alter the tradition in your household. After all, Halloween kicks off the streak of indulgent holidays, so why not change your habits right at the start? There are ways to limit refined sugar consumption without being a major buzzkill for your kids this season.
Stock Up Strategically
Don’t buy your favorite kind of candy weeks before trick-or-treaters come to your door. It’s tempting to snag a few bags of your childhood (or current) favorite when it’s on sale at the store, but resistance is key! If it’s not in your house, you won’t be able to eat it. Do a favor to your kids, too, and don’t purposely buy the candies they hope they get in their basket on Halloween night.
Limit Your Intake
When the big night arrives, don’t require your child to turn down any candies (that’s torture!) but simply begin rationing the candies afterward. Make a rule that they can’t consume any while trick-or-treating; not only is this safe (you can check candies for any tampering at home), but you also can sort it, bag it and hand it out in small doses. Pediatricians recommend six small candies per day for your child or two to three bigger pieces. Parents can follow this rule, too! If your child (or your own brain) keeps asking for more, encourage them to eat one of their suckers or hard candies. They take longer to eat, satisfy cravings over a longer period of time and generally contain fewer calories than other candies.
Desert the Desserts
While you have a candy stash in the house, try not to bake cookies, buy ice cream or dole out brownies. Dietary guidelines for children recommend a combined allotment of 150-300 calories of fat and sugar (combined!) for kids per day. If you’re simultaneously snacking on candies and baked goods, that calorie allotment is exceeded a lot quicker. Also, minimizing sugar intake in general helps minimize cravings over a period of time.
Have way too much candy? Don’t be afraid to throw some of it away or give it to friends! As I said earlier, if it’s not in the house, you won’t be tempted.
Here’s a simple way to incorporate healthy doses of sugar in your household:
Dark Chocolate Apples
Wash apples, remove the stems and insert wooden sticks into the tops of the fruit. Melt dark chocolate chips or baking discs in a double boiler. When the chocolate is liquefied, slowly roll the apple in the chocolate until it’s fully covered. Place on a parchment paper-lined tray and set in the fridge to cool.
This simple recipe satisfies your sweet tooth and gives you an antioxidant boost.
Craving more? Dip your favorite dried fruit into the dark chocolate! Orange fruits like mango, papaya and apricot make for a fun, Halloween-themed dessert.
Best of health,
Dr. Chad M. Hoffman