Should trick or treating be banned? Or is one night – OK maybe one month – of having a sugar high really all that bad for the kids?
Whether you love the costumes or think this is a ploy for candy companies to cash in, Halloween is probably one of the most debated holidays in North America – well at least it is for dietitians… especially us Muslim ones (since we have a philosophical disagreement with the concept of it – but that’s a whole ‘nother ball game isn’t it)!
So if you’re that parent, aunt, uncle, neighbour (or fill in the blank) whose sitting on the fence spinning the roulette wheel and waiting to see which side to join this year, I hope this will help you make a more informed decision… on the CANDY part of things anyways…
To treat or not to treat
If we look at the simplest version of the facts, then it is safe to assume that:
more candy = more calories
and more calories = more fat
and if a=b and b=c then a=c
which means theoretically
more candy = more fat …
unless of course we look at calories in vs. calories out, in which case:
more candy + more running around from a sugar high may not necessarily = more fat, right?
OK – on a more serious note, I think it is safe to say that we all know that OD’ing on candy really isn’t such a hot idea. At the same time, if you live in any neighbourhood in the US or Canada at least than you are sure to be faced with a battle between the kids – who just want to dress up and come home with loot – and your common sense.
So is Halloween really responsible for making our kids fat?
What if I told you that Halloween may just be more of an opportunity than you think…
Here’s the thing, when all is said and done, CANDY IS SIMPLY CANDY at the end of the day – and it only has as much power over you and your kids as you allow it to. At the same time showing your kids how to manage treats is one of the most important skills you can teach them in this easy access, processed food world that we live in.
So if you ask me, Halloween, like everything else, should really be less about candy and more about finding balance. Whether you decide that means you’ll be the house on the street that gives out tooth brushes or not, if when all is said and done you know you’re kids know that candy is not part of the food guide then I wouldn’t sweat it all that much.
Halloween Yin & Yang
Here are 3 tips I think will help you find your Halloween Zen:
Make Halloween more about socializing and less about candy –go trick or treating with friends/neighbours or have a little party with some pals
Set Limits –Make sure your child knows that they have a quota of candy they can have for the day and that there is a difference between full-size and mini candy bars
Feast before you treat –It’s always a good idea to remind kids that candy can be had after meals just like dessert and make sure your kids are full with a healthy wholesome dinner before they go trick-or-treating
If you want to find more ways to make Halloween a little bit healthier, you can check out these great ideas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
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