Managing sugar intake after Halloween
It’s looking at you every time you walk by, either in a large bucket, basket, or bag. Or maybe lumped together in a pile somewhere in your house.
No, not dirty laundry. It’s your child’s newly acquired stash of Halloween treats.
So what do you do with all of those treats? How do you let your little one enjoy the spoils of this once-a-year holiday without going overboard?
Stephanie Tibelius, registered dietitian at McMaster Children’s Hospital’s Children’s Exercise and Nutrition Centre, shares tips on how to incorporate sweet treats while still maintaining a balanced diet.
Food is more than nourishment
So many families have great efforts and strategies in place this time of year, aimed at implementing a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families.
We’re often asked at the clinic, “How do we get through the season without disrupting the great healthy habits we have in place?” We take this opportunity to remind families that food is so much more than nourishment – it’s social, it’s psychological, and it’s fun.
All of these celebratory foods fit as part of a healthy diet, so as a caregiver or as a parent, enjoy watching your kids enjoy the excitement and the fun of these holidays, including the Halloween candy or other celebratory foods.
But some families may have had an overenthusiastic trick-or-treater this year and they’re not sure what to do with the mass of candy that is now in their home.
So if that’s the case for you, here are some tips to get you through the next little while.
Building a solid foundation
First – maintain a solid foundation of meals and snacks. Include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Once the candy starts to take over these regular meals and snacks, it may be time to refocus on maybe some nourishing food choices.
But this can be done all while including some Halloween candy as well.
For example, if you’re enjoying peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and apple, feel free to throw some Smarties on there as well.
You could make a homemade trail mix with whole grain cereal, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and then throw some Halloween gummies into the mix.
Another fun one is to chop of some of your favourite Halloween chocolate bars and then sprinkle them over Greek yogurt for a delicious snack.
All of these options either include some great protein or some fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals at snack time.
Swapping for other incentives
There’s other ways you can prolong the enjoyment of Halloween as well, such as throwing some of that candy into the freezer and pulling it out on movie night, game night, when the kids have a friend over or a sleepover.
There’s always these social opportunities where you can share the candy around a little bit.
Some families like to implement a trade or a swap system, where kids can trade in some of their candy for small toys, games, books, or anything that would motivate or be a good incentive for your kid to reduce the amount of candy in the home.
Remember what holidays are about
Try to keep the food out of your child’s room.
Keep it in a central location and enjoy it as a family. This way, you don’t run the risk of it being grazed on throughout the day and disrupting the appetite of those regular meals and snacks that we hope to maintain.
All in all, remember that holidays are special – they’re meant to be enjoyed as a family with everything that they have to offer. All foods fit as a healthy lifestyle.