Handling The Candy Monster!

by Dana Snook on October 28, 2013

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A Realistic Approach To Dealing with Halloween Candy Overload!

I remember as a young child the enjoyment I got from trick or treating and being able to come home and enjoy my candy. We used to sit at the table and look at the good stuff we got and sort out all the “crappy” candy. My dad would hoover trying to persuade us to give him is favorite. When I was 13 years old Halloween changed for our family when my youngest sister was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and wasn’t allowed to eat the candy anymore. Halloween took on a new meaning because we had to shield our candy eating and enjoyment from my sister. My parents tried to salvage the event by allowing my sister to charge us for her candy, but my poor sister always got the short end of that stick (not that I ever took any of the candy without paying…ha)!  Unfortunately, this restrictive approach DID NOT work and backfired BIG TIME because my sister learned to sneak candy. Children are resourceful when they really want to be. Now, my mom was only doing what the medical professionals were telling her, but it still set my sister up for failure.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. There are 3 key steps that you can take when handing Halloween candy to set your children up for success!

#1 Eat dinner prior to going trick or treating. Before dinner announce to your child, “Tonight for dinner is XYZ, eat as much as you want or as little as you want because for snack tonight you will be eating your candy.”

#2 Upon returning from trick or treating allow your children to sit at the table with their candy to sort it, share it, talk about it, and most importantly eat it.  Allow them to eat as much as they want.  YES, you heard me, as much as they want. Then do it again the next day!

#3 After the second day, put the candy away to be used occasionally at meal and snack times as regulated by you.

Before you get all upset with me and wonder how a dietitian could say such a thing let me explain. Children who grow up to understand that candy is “no big deal” can learn to be comfortable enough to fill up and then move on. As in the case with my sister, when restriction was involved it only heightens the issue around candy and can lead to sneaking, shame and poor eating/food relationship. A child who eats a lot of candy for two days will NOT suffer nutritionally. It takes way more then two days of eating candy to develop nutritional deficiencies.

Yes, this may be what some will call a liberal view, but it’s one that will shape your child into becoming the competent eater you so crave. Research will back me up on this one because it has shown that competent eaters actually do best nutritionally!

Go on don’t fear that Candy Monster, EMBRACE the day, ENJOY the day and then keep MOVING!

Feel free to share and comment!

Much Love,

Dana Snook, RDN, CDE, CIC

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mathew October 30, 2013 at 9:54 pm

You’re absolutely right, Dana. As a child, when a grown up restricts you of something, it only makes you want it more. Children who are restricted resort to sneaking around. That really is a poor habit for a child to pick up.

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Dana Snook October 31, 2013 at 12:34 am

Mathew- so true! I’ve seen it so many times!

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