- Be proactive – Reduce the amount of candy children receive by limiting the time spent trick or treating. Fun family traditions can limit the amount of time kids spend trick or treating without retaliatory resentment. A festive family dinner during the first hour of trick or treating, a scary movie with friends after knocking a few doors, or a spooky game of Zombies and Humans in the park can all be fun activities to displace some of the hours spent in search of Halloween loot. One benefit of bringing the kids home early is, you can re-gift some of their candy. Consider ditching the pillow case and opting for a smaller basket that looks fuller with less candy.
- Out of sight – Growing up, holiday treats were stored in a bowl on the kitchen counter and were always depleted by the end of the season. When my mom began storing them in a kitchen cabinet, I usually forgot they were there, and many of the treats were thrown away rather than eaten. Designate a place where the candy will be stored and ensure it is out of plain sight. If you don’t feel your children can exercise discretion when consuming candy, take the liberty of storing it for them on a high shelf or locked cabinet, so you can have greater control over how the candy is eaten.
- Timing – Control the timing of candy intake. Ensure that candy isn’t consumed before meals. It might reduce the amount of healthy foods consumed. Restricting candy consumption to only certain times of the day, may naturally limit the quantity of candy consumed as well. You may also feel that limiting candy to only certain days of the week (weekends, days starting with “T,” etc.) may be a feasible rule.
- Amount – Perhaps the most direct way to cut down on candy consumption is to limit it directly. As a child, I recall one friend was allowed to consume two pieces of candy daily. Another was told he had to choose his 15 favorite candies on Halloween night and the rest were thrown away. If you choose to go this route, be careful not to be too restrictive. Children should still have a sense of autonomy and control, perhaps by choosing which candies and when they consume them.
- Reduce other sugar – Candy isn’t the only source of sugar in a child’s diet. Try and cut back on other sources of sugar throughout the day. Get rid of the juices; limit any syrups, honey, jams, or other sugary topping; cut out desserts or make your child’s daily candy also serve as their dessert; and select recipes that don’t rely on large amounts of sweeteners.
Genesis PURE Product and Research Specialist