As a child I always enjoyed getting dressed up and going trick or treating with my family and friends. I even more so enjoyed eating lots of candy! If you know me, you likely know I enjoy candy (I don’t have it often, but when I do I REALLY enjoy it). I can still remember my favourite Halloween treats (Starburst, Sour Patch Kids, Popeye Candy Sticks, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups). These are fun memories that make Halloween so nostalgic and exciting. However, with all that being said I believe there are ways to limit excessive sugar intake during Halloween and enjoy your treats mindfully.
Tips to Help Your Children Enjoy Halloween Candy Mindfully
1. Have your children sort through their candy and divide them into two groups. The ones they love and the ones they don’t love. This is an easy way to remove the “unloved” treats from your house and control how many treats are being eaten.
2. While enjoying the treats engage your children’s senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound). Ask them questions like; how does the candy feel in your mouth (i.e, crunchy, mushy, chewy etc.), how many chews does it take to eat that candy? What does it smell like, taste like?
Engaging your child’s senses will help promote mindful eating by having them think about the treat they are enjoying. It also slows down the process, leaving room for a smaller amount of treats.
Mindful eating game: using your senses!
Have your child pick their top 3 favourite treats.
Have them close their eyes or blindfold them.
You (parent) pick 1 treat from the 3 and place it in their hands.
Have them use their other senses (taste, smell, touch etc.) to guess which of their favourite treats they are eating.
This activity helps promote mindful eating and will have your child focus on their senses to help determine which treat they are enjoying.
3. Explain how it is important to listen to your body and hunger. Even though it is exciting to have so many treats our bodies don’t need a lot of sugar. Explain why it is important to only enjoy a couple treats at a time. Set limits that work for you and your family.
4. Eliminate distractions. When enjoying treats try to avoid eating them in front of the TV or other electronics, this promotes mindless eating.
Additional Tips for Halloween Night
(for both parents and children)
1. Eat a balanced meal before heading out trick or treating. Having a nutritious meal will help ensure your child is feeling satisfied throughout the night and less likely to snack on all the treats.
2. You don’t have to give out candy, consider handing out Halloween stickers, bouncy balls, tattoos, erasers, glow bracelets (the Dollar Store is a great place to stock up on goodies that would also be appropriate to hand out).
3. Get rid of some of the candy (give them away or have your child trade them for non-candy items i.e., family movie night, time at the park, trampolining, ice skating etc.)
4. Set a candy limit. Perhaps only trick or treat until your child fills up a certain amount. This will help you control how much candy comes into the home.
What do you do after Halloween, when there is more than enough mini chocolates and candies sitting around?
I am all about mindfully enjoying some treats, but of course there is such a thing as too much! One of my main suggestions is setting a candy collecting limit. You can decide how much, perhaps you allow your child to collect one bag full that evening. When they are done they can continue to walk around with friends and family not collecting any more candy but still trick or treating or you can drive not going to each and every house to allow for more walking and less collecting.
Bottom line: set a candy limit, which in turn limits how much is actually coming into your house.
Save Some of the Candy!
Baking – you can use different chocolates in baking or trail mixes with bonus treats. For example, M&M’s can replace chocolate chips in cookies or muffins and can also be placed in trail mixes with different nuts and seeds.
Educational activities – perhaps use some chocolates or candies as a treat for your child that also allows for learning. Why not use pieces of chocolates to explain patterns, addition, subtraction, fractions, and so much more!
Save it for holiday décor – does your family make gingerbread houses or cookies? Save some candies and chocolates for decorating. Get rid of some:
- Many dentist offices will buy back your candy for small amounts of money or gift cards. Take advantage of this and get rid of some of your candy.
- Bring some to upcoming events, work, or other places where the candy and chocolate can be enjoyed by many instead of just the few of you in your home.
I hope you can find a way to implement some of these tips and tricks before trick or treating this year. If you do, I would love to hear how it worked out.
Cheers to happy and healthy eating (using all your senses).
Happy Halloween! 🙂
Angela Wallace is a Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist), Family Food Expert, and Certified Personal Trainer. She specializes in women and child nutrition and fitness. She uses a “non-dieting approach,” with her ultimate goal being to help people find a healthy balanced lifestyle and a healthy relationship with food. Life is busy, and she totally gets that. She is all about helping support people in finding quick, simple, and effective ways to eat healthy meals and get moving more.
Angela enjoys sharing recipes and practical nutrition tips through blogging and several other media outlets. By doing so, she hopes to inspire, educate, and empower women and families to make healthy lifestyle changes that work for them!