Kids, Candy & Halloween: How to Manage Candy Consumption During the Halloween Binge by 30Seconds Health
Who doesn’t love Halloween? A holiday that is solely driven by eating candy – and lots of it. Of course, you want your kids to take full advantage of this, to enjoy the holiday and have fun trick-or-treating. But you might also be dreading the aftermath of, “My child is up way too late and now he/she wants to eat all this candy … and I have to say, no, right?” Susan Peirce Thompson, food expert and author of "Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free," tells parents that letting their kids indulge for just Halloween holiday is OK. (Insert sighs of relief.)
You don’t have to spoil the holiday and spark a battle with your kids by taking away the sweets entirely. However, you don’t want it to set kids down the slippery slope toward sugar addiction either. So how can parents manage the candy consumption? First, let Thompson explains exactly what she means by sugar addiction. Sugar actually hijacks our hormones and neurotransmitters and changes our brain, rewiring it to ensure that we will continue consuming more and more of it. In other words, it is highly addictive. And a sugar addiction is often the first step toward a lifetime of overeating and obesity.
But the good news is that a short-term sugar binge – like on Halloween night or the next day – will not rewire the brain. It’s the consumption over a prolonged period of time that we need to watch out for. So as long as Halloween doesn’t jump start a long-term candy habit, you should be fine to manage it. Here are some things you can do:
- Let kids enjoy and binge on their candy for one day or possibly two, but three days absolute max.
- Refrain from limiting their candy intake during that time. Limiting intake will create too much of a focus and possibly, a fixation. Instead, allow them to indulge.
- Avoid trying to replace their candy binge with, say, a binge on carrots. They’ll feel deceived and cheated and will only crave candy all the more.
- Above all, model good eating habits year-round, with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, but minimal sweets.
Halloween is also the perfect time to talk to your children about sugar. Have the “sugar talk” to explain to them why sugar isn’t good for us. In addition to being addictive and a major culprit in weight gain, sugar is associated with a whole plethora of health risks, from heart and liver problems and diabetes and even cancer. Kids should know this. Not to mention that eating sugar can lead to cavities, and unpleasant dentist visits.
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