Let’s face it: October 31 is all about the sugar, and not letting our kids have any candy isn’t the best (or most realistic) approach, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Halloween is just one day, but their candy haul can last for weeks. Here’s how to manage your kids’ sugar intake without feeling like a witch:
Pick favorites. After trick or treating, have kids pick their favorite candies, suggests the Academy. Donate the rest to veteran’s facilities, local shelters or assisted living homes; call ahead to see if they accept unopened treats. Or, consider donating to organizations that create care packages for military and first responders, such as Operation Gratitude.
Swap it for real food. If your kids are craving sweets, try the real deal. “There are so many varieties of fruit, some of which are a sweet alternative to candy,” says Frank L. Urbano, MD, senior medical director at AmeriHealth New Jersey. “Making this simple swap can easily be carried out year-round because of the different fruits each season brings.”
Be wary of sugar-free options. “In reality, these foods are sweetened with artificial sweeteners and aren’t always a healthier alternative after all,” says Urbano.
Keep it out of sight. There’s definitely something to be said for putting the candy away rather than having it out in a dish on the counter. You can also throw it away after that first week. We promise: Your kids (and your waistline) aren’t going to miss it.
Repurpose the candy. Mix it up (sparingly!) with wholegrain cereal, nuts and pretzels to make homemade trail mix. Or, freeze it for baking cookies or decorating gingerbread houses this holiday season.