Avoiding a Nutrition Nightmare on Halloween

*Popping in with a non-traditional Thursday post in order to help out any parents out there that are dreading the candy flood that tomorrow will bring!  I initially wrote this post for another outlet, but figured I’d share it here with you all, too!*

Avoiding a Nutrition Nightmare on Halloween

Did you know that the average kid collects 91 pieces of Halloween candy each year?  That equates to over 40 days’ worth of recommended added sugar!  I have no problem with letting your kids enjoy the holiday, but I encourage you to shift the focus towards the costumes and excitement of Trick-or-Treating, rather than all about the candy.  Here are a few tips on how to deal with the candy overload after Halloween:

  • Portion it: Allow your kids to eat a few pieces of candy on Halloween night, and then collect the remainders.  Keep the bag out of sight (we are far more likely to crave – and eat – what is visible to us in our kitchens, which is why I always suggest storing fruits and vegetables on the countertop!).  Allow each child to choose a piece on each weekend night or other interval of your choosing.
  • Donate it: There are several organizations that will collect unwanted Halloween candy. Halloween Candy BuyBack is one of these, and dentists will trade money for your children’s candy.
  • Swap it: Some parents choose to swap out Halloween candy for another treat – maybe a trip to a new release movie, a family outing to the Texas State Fair, a new outfit for school, or the choice of what the family watches on TV or eats for dinner one night.  I’ve even heard of a “switch witch” night, where the kids get to choose all their favorite types of candy, and leave the rest out for a “witch” that comes overnight and exchanges the unchosen candy for a treat!
  • Use it as a tool: Kids are often smarter than we give them credit for, and like to know why parents say no.  Use Halloween candy as a lesson to teach them that too much sugar can cause energy slumps, tooth decay, digestive problems, skin breakouts, and contribute to long-term diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  The average kid should have about 20g of added sugar per day, so compare that to the candy package next time it comes out.
  • Don’t deal with it in the first place: If you don’t want masses of uneaten candy left over in your home after the Trick-or-Treating madness, why not make fun and healthy Halloween treats to pass out instead?  These clementine Jack-o-Lanterns are adorable and fun!  Glow sticks, temporary tattoos, or false teeth make fun non-food treats, and Clif Z-Fruit + Veggie or Annie’s snack packs would be healthier options!

Here’s to a happy – and healthy – Halloween!

So tell me in the comments … What’s your favorite Halloween candy? (hands down – candy corn for me!)  If you have kids, how do you deal with the candy influx?  If you don’t have kids, what did you do with your candy as a child?