5 Tips to Avoid Candy Overload

5 Tips to Avoid Candy Overload

Help your kids stay healthy and happy no matter what holiday rolls around.

By: Elizabeth Stark

Candy can test any parent’s resolve. Especially during Halloween, keeping your little ghouls away from that bulging bag of candy can make you feel like you’re the real monster. With a little planning and communication, you can set up a system that extends beyond November and well into the future.

1. Keep Your Kids in the Loop
Start by helping your children establish reasonable expectations. If you explain that candy can be bad for teeth and health, even on Halloween night, they’ll think twice about going on a candy binge.

2. Discuss Limits
It's also helpful to discuss limits with your children. Make sure your children not only know that limits on sweets exist, but also why they exist.

While it’s obvious to grown-ups that too much candy is not good for you, this fact is often lost on kids. (After all, how can something that tastes so good be bad?) While they don’t need a primer on diabetes risk, it does help to let them know that over time, too many sweets can have a negative effect on their health. They’ll still be gung-ho about candy, but discussing the consequences of over-indulgence will help get them on the same page as you.

You can also explain that candy can do damage to their teeth. And no one wants an unexpected visit to the dentist — mom and dad included!


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3. Create a Candy Count
Regardless of what time of year, agree with your kids and set a limit on the amount of candy they are allowed to eat. On Halloween night, give younger children a smaller container, and have older ones use a plastic pumpkin (even if they’ve figured out they can get more in a pillowcase).

4. Candy Control
Put the candy somewhere out of reach so they’ll only be able to have it with your permission. As they get older, try giving kids what you consider to be a week’s worth at a time, so they can practice control by budgeting their candy. This also gives them the chance to make mistakes and learn from the consequences (like the inevitable bellyache that comes after a candy binge).

5. Keep Bribery out of the Equation
Finally, don’t use your kid’s candy as a reward or punishment. Giving them sweets for a job well done or withholding them for bad behaviour seems like a great tactic in the moment, but can lead to unhealthy habits in the future.

They might begin to question whether they deserve sweets, rather than considering the bigger picture of their health and wellbeing. So, tempting as it may be, don’t use candy to exert control.

With a few of these strategies in place, Halloween can be a fun — and delicious — holiday for everyone involved!

Elizabeth’s (along with her husband, Brian’s) work can be found on the blog Brooklyn Supper a story of a family eating with the seasons in Virginia and Brooklyn. They believe strongly that good, local food and wholesome meals should be accessible to everyone.

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