Get the latest healthy living tips.
Every year around Halloween, the tips and tricks about how to steal, trade, or hide your kids’ candy make the rounds. When my kids were little goblins, I tried them all: “The Halloween fairy came in the middle of the night and took your candy.”; “I’ll trade you candy for a toy of your choice.”; “For every piece of candy you eat, you throw one piece away.” Now that my kids are teenagers, they tell these stories like I was the Wicked Witch of the West and they’ve shared stories about how they hid candy from me, sometimes with the help of their father.
So let’s get real: it’s Halloween and there is candy and all sorts of other sugary goodies around. While they may not be the best food choices, this is a perfect chance to teach kids how to manage their food choices independently. If I had to do it over again, here’s how I would handle Halloween candy.
Buy one bag early in the season and make it accessible with the understanding that this is the only candy in the house until Halloween itself. Talk about how to divide candy between members of the family and offer to pack a piece in their lunch once or twice a week, as long as the supply holds out.
If your kids decide to eat it all in a day or two, that’s their choice, but don’t buy any more candy. Managing food choices is one of the most valuable things you can teach your kids. It’s a skill they will use daily for the rest of their lives.
Divide the Trick-or-Treat stash and put half in the freezer. Two things can come from this strategy: you have a bunch of frozen candy bars that can be used later for lunch box treats or as favors for birthday parties, or you’ll forget about it completely and throw the stash away a year later. The key here is to let your kids decide how to divide up the candy. Don’t just take it and hide it, let them have a say in what to eat now and what to freeze for later.
Play the family trade game with candy the kids don’t like. You know the ones – Almond Joys, Mounds, York Peppermint Patties – kids hate them, you love them. Let them keep one of their favorite pieces of candy for every one they give to you. This is the real win-win situation!
Most importantly, don’t turn Halloween into a battle with your kids over candy and don’t feel guilty about letting them indulge in some sugar. They will face sugary food choices for the rest of their lives – teach them how to make sound decisions now so they don’t have to learn later.
As a parent, you can make sure they have access to healthy choices throughout the rest of the day. Make fruits, vegetables and whole grains part of every meal and limit the sugar they’re getting from other foods and beverages.
And one last trick, serve candy with a glass of a2 Milk®. The calcium in milk helps keep teeth strong and dentists believe that there are other components of milk that protect teeth from the damage sugar may cause.
As for my teenagers…they’ve gotten too old to Trick-or-Treat, but they still love candy. However, I bought a mixed bag of chocolate bars on October 1 and it has yet to be opened!
Bonnie has been part of The a2 Milk CompanyTM team since the 2014 US launch. She became an a2 Milk® fan when she found the research and successfully tested the milk out with her daughter. Bonnie has worked in the food industry for over 20 years as a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist consultant with companies such as Quaker and PepsiCo.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition & Science from Colorado State University. As Vice President of Scientific Affairs & Activation, Bonnie promotes the science and research behind a2 Milk® to Healthcare Professionals and is available to answer any questions about a2 Milk®.