Have a happy Halloween by consciously balancing sugar with this Halloween candy bowl.
happy Halloween! With Halloween just around the corner, parents’ worries are growing about how to balance out that bulky trick-or-treat bag stuffed with Halloween candy. I get all about this, because I’m a mom, and you can see my son Nicholas’ Halloween candy stash in the photo below (although he’s not a kid anymore!). You don’t want to deprive your kids of all the sweet Halloween candy, but you also don’t want to set them up for poor nutrition, mood swings, and low academic focus if they’re overindulging in sugar. So, I sat down with some of my favorite registered dietitians to ask their best tips for dealing with an overabundance of Halloween candy, as well as managing a Halloween trick-or-treat night. Read on for their top tips for balancing Halloween treats in a fun, mindful way.
5 tips from nutritionists to balance Halloween candy
1. Practice mindful moderation.
“I think a great tip is to remind families that Halloween is a fun-filled time to be enjoyed in moderation. I’m a staunch supporter of Pumpkin teal project. Every year, I take pride in being the neighbor who passes the non-food item that ends up being the biggest hit! This year: glow in the dark straws! I think it’s important to remember that even non-food items are perfect gifts that all kids can enjoy regardless of their nutritional needs, and they also break candy for Mom and Dad! says Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT from Shaw’s Simple Swaps.
2. Stock your home with less “addictive” foods.
“My best advice is, if you’re going to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters in your area, buy it as close to Halloween as possible (so they don’t stare at you for a few days or weeks) and to buy candy or chocolate that you and your kids don’t like. I hate toffee and I’m not going anywhere near it.” This way I automatically get rid of any temptations related to junk food from home, says Toby Amidor, MS, RD.
3. Subsidy it.
“Have your child sort out the foods they serve up, and pick a few for Halloween and one or two for each day the following month. Then donate the rest, or bring it to your office so you can take it out!” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN.
4. Focus on healthy foods first.
“Get a bowl of grapes, baby carrots, or cherry tomatoes to eat during a trick-or-treat event (especially if you’re the one handing out the candy). And before you head out of the restaurant, have a healthy and delicious snack with protein and carbs. You’ll be less tempted to eat sweets if you have A really full belly. A nice snack includes hummus with carrots, string cheese with fruit and relish.” Sarah KoszykMA, RDN.
“Families in my neighborhood usually gather for appetizers before trick-or-treating, and I love serving hummus with crackers and veggies, for a healthy, filling snack full of plant-based protein. Yes, my kids will eat candy later, but at least I know they’re starting the night with little food in their stomachs,” says EA Stewart, RDN at Warm Nutrition RD.
“Halloween can be a tough time for parents to feed their kids healthily. As a mom and a dietitian, I focus on healthy foods that I can make fun at night, rather than what I have to say no to. Before I send my kids trick or treating, I fill them with foods rich in protein. And fun rich in fiber.Another important Halloween party tip is to offer plenty of water,kids need to leave at night well.Carrying a water bottle is also a good idea.Leave the sweets for the goodies groups they will get.Let your kids know they can enjoy some of their favorite candy when they get home,” says Kathy Siegel, MS, RDN, CDN.
5. Don’t worry too much.
“Eating too much one day will not worsen your health in the long run. If you’re overeating Halloween candy, remind yourself that it’s OK to eat more sugar or added sweets every once in a while. Just go back to your habits. The next day begins with a healthy, balanced breakfast Plan to follow your usual eating pattern the next day Expecting a food restriction the next day sets you up to overeat that day or night (“After all, if I don’t let myself eat that food) Again, I may be eating as much as I can now.”) Remind yourself that restrictive diets don’t work long-term,” says Mackenzie Hall, RDN.
For healthier plant-based treats, check out some of my favorites: