Halloween: Dealing with the Aftermath

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Ok, last week I gave you some tips on how to prepare for and have a safe and healthier Halloween. But I think we all know that our kids are gonna come home with LOTS of sweets. So what to do in the aftermath of the Halloween candy frenzy?

Have no fear. My good friend Beth Thayer, a fellow dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association has offered up some great ideas that she uses with her kids to help keep the candy chaos in check. "Part of learning how to eat healthy is learning how to incorporate treats" says Beth and I couldn't agree more. It's ok to have treats and here's how Beth puts that whole moderation thing into practice:

1. "My big thing for parents is to use this as a teaching moment; let the kids sort out the candy they really want and throw the rest away." Kids will be less likely to eat empty calories that aren't their favorites anyway she says. And really, it's ok to throw candy away; it looks better in the trash can than on the hips.
2. Next Beth suggests we get out the art supplies; use markers, glitter, crayons, glue and the bright candy and M&Ms to make fun designs. "Getting out the art supplies was something we tried last year. The kids had fun and then didn't want to eat their creations - so it worked well."
3. Now here is something my sisters and I did as kids that I forgot about but Beth reminded me of the "play 'who can make the candy last the longest' game". This gets to kids competitive nature and it can stop them from overindulging in one (or more) sittings. (It worked on me as a kid.. I always won and had candy into February.)
4. Beth also advises parents to set reasonable limits, "I let my kids pick something to put in their lunch and then something for a snack or dessert at the end of the day".
5. She then recommends "keep the candy in the pantry behind closed doors, and (allow them to) only eat in the kitchen. After the first few days, that 'out of sight, out of mind' thing really slows down the requests for candy."

Another tactic is to trade candy for things that kids want. Offer to buy up their stash, or give them 20 extra minutes of play time or staying up past bedtime in exchange for candy (and then throw it away so you're not tempted either!). Find out what they want and use it to your advantage. And don't forget to check if your dentist will buy up candy from patients. Then it'll really be out of your house!

If you have more tips to slow down the candy eating onslaught, please send them along and I'll try to get them posted on Wednesday. Good luck tomorrow and try to have a fruit and veggie filled day (with a little candy treat in moderation).

Many many thanx Beth!!!!!!

(Photo courtesy of Crsytl)
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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