As the daughter of a dentists and a proponent of healthy eating, I have a reputation. I’m the mom who doesn’t buy her kid candy.
OK. So you don’t think I’m absolutely draconian, He does get candy in his Easter basket, I do let him eat a piece or two at birthday parties and yes, grandma, grandpa and even my DH buy him candy.
But I don’t.
You see, I grew up that way. We didn’t have candy in the house. Candy was something for holidays, other people’s houses and, of course, Halloween (though we gave out apples instead of candy to the disappointed trick-or-treaters that appeared at our door).
So Halloween’s a tough holiday for me. I cringe when I see the shear amount of candy he ends up consuming between Halloween parties, school events and even the candy bowl that magically appears at many of the stores we frequent around this time of year.
This time of year finds me furiously brushing his teeth and hoping for the best. Over time though, I’ve found a few tricks that seem to help reduce the amount of unrefined sugar he ingests.
1. Good Deeds Begin at Home – This year, instead of buying a bag of commercial candy treats consider giving out small toys instead. The dollar store often has trinkets that won’t upset your green soul too much – like chalk, crayons and notepads. If you tend not to get too many trick-or-treaters at your door, consider spending a bit more and buying little wooden toys or if you really must give out candy, make it organic.
2. Shorten the time you go trick or treating. The younger the child, the easier this is. Instead of a rush to hit every house on the street, consider taking an evening stroll. Let the kids stop to see the Halloween decorations. Visit with neighbors awhile. And plan in advance to watch a Halloween movie after…but only if they get home in time.
3. Bring on the candy fairy. After eating the requisite few pieces allowed on Halloween night, I allow my son to choose 3 more pieces to eat…one eat of the following days. The rest goes out on the front porch for the candy fairy, who replaces it with a small toy. Ok – it seems like a bribe. It is.
4. Feed ‘em First. One way that I’ve found to cut down on the amount of sugar my son consumes at just about any sure-to-be-treat-laden event is to stuff him with healthy food just prior to the event. A good meal filled with favorite healthy foods is sure to limit the amount of room there actually is for all the sweet stuff.
5. Collect For UNICEF. Long ago nights when I was a child, we carried our cardboard UNICEF boxes from door to door with us, asking for money AND for treats. Often we were so excited about the donation, we forgot about the treats. You can collect for UNICEF or for your favorite charity and watch your child proudly count the proceeds and exhort you to write and mail the check!
Photo Credit: Cartercomics at Flickr Under Creative Commons License