Tips can prevent children from 'goblin' excess treats
HOUSTON--Monstrous amounts of trick-or-treat candy doesn't have
to be a Halloween nightmare for parents.
With a few tricks of their own, parents can provide a balance between
sugary treats and fright-night festivities. "Children caught
up in the thrills of other Halloween activities are less likely
to be obsessed with bags of candy," says Dr. Debby Demory-Luce,
a nutritionist with the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center
at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
She offers these suggestions:
- Conjure up activities that focus on Halloween fun, not sweet
treats. Carve Jack-O-Lanterns, create a creepy "grave yard"
on the lawn, host a Monster make-up party, or organize a neighborhood
scavenger hunt. "Few adults remember how much Halloween candy
they received as a child, but almost everyone remembers whether
they had fun," Demory-Luce says.
- Scare up healthy treats for little goblins who knock at the
door. "What you hand out sends a strong message to your children,"
Demory-Luce says. She recommends small bags of pretzels and mini-boxes
of raisins, or non-food treats such as stickers, pencils, and
- Limit the length of trick-or-treat outings to decrease the amount
of candy children bring home. This is a lot easier to do when
children know that other activities are planned.
- Encourage children to sort through their bags and decide how
many and which pieces of Halloween candy to keep. "Learning
to make good food choices is instrumental for children to develop
self-control and healthy eating habits," Demory-Luce says.
This also gives parents the opportunity to screen treats and discard
any with loose or suspicious wrappings.
- Allow children one or two treats Halloween night, then store
the remainder out of sight. "It's fine to give one or two
treats a day in lunches or after school," says Demory-Luce.
"But avoid using candy to reward good behavior because it
can increase a child's preference for sweet foods."
- Consider donating any excess treats to senior citizens' homes
or organizations serving the needy.
"Good planning can help keep children from goblin' up too
many Halloween treats while still letting the ghoul times roll,"
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