Candy has been a special and fun part of Halloween since Americans first embraced the tradition of trick-or-treating in the 1950s, but the connection between sweets and the holiday goes back even further than that! If you keep these tricks in mind, it’s easy to include a moderate amount of treats in your Halloween celebration.
Make a Plan
Nearly 90 percent of parents report that they have a plan in place to help their children make informed choices when they enjoy treats. Begin the conversation as soon as you start talking about Halloween – whether you’re decorating the house or shopping for costumes.
Understand Candy Portions
After you’ve enjoyed a few treats on Halloween, portion out treats for later by putting two or three pieces of candy into small bags. That way, you’re ready to talk about balance with your children as you enjoy treats over the following days and weeks.
Eat Before You Treat
Enjoy a balanced dinner together before you go out trick-or-treating. It’s important to talk about balance not just around Halloween, but throughout the year.
Set a Routine
Research suggests that routines are beneficial to children. Involve them in the decision-making process by allowing them to decide when they can have their favorite treats, while you guide them on the mindful enjoyment of chocolate and candy.
Don’t Prohibit Treats
Restriction may increase the desire for treats like chocolate and candy. Instead, try teaching children about the role small amounts of treats can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle while allowing them to enjoy a pre-determined number of treats per day.
Halloween is the perfect moment to reinforce sharing for children. Encourage your child to share treats with others, which will help them to understand portion guidance. House rules around sharing candy can be helpful sharing tools as well. In fact, nearly half of all surveyed parents say their house rule is that candy must be shared.
Savor the Flavor
Talk to your children about slowing down and enjoying treats with mindfulness. Minimize distractions while eating and bring their attention to the textures and flavors of their favorite treats.
Don’t Forget to Brush!
The best way to keep your teeth strong enough to enjoy treats is to brush frequently, floss regularly, use fluoride products as recommended by your dentist and rinse with water or chew sugar-free gum after each meal or snack.
Mix It Up
You can change the nutritional profile of your favorite treats by combining a smaller amount with whole grain cereals, dried fruit and/or nuts to make a fun trail mix. It’s another great way to demonstrate balance!
Enjoy the Night
Focus on celebrating the holiday with friends and family. Remember, a balanced diet is formed over time and not from one night of eating. There is room for all types of food in a happy, balanced lifestyle – including treats on special occasions.