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October 15, 2012 at 6:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

8 Tips For Preventing Post-Halloween Tummy Aches

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This Author

Hang around any group of moms long enough during the month of October and you are sure to hear discussions surrounding the endless sugar-fest that it Halloween.

“Should I let my kids keep all of their candy?”

“How much is too much?”

“Is it best to take it all away?”

But before you join in and begin to worry about how the extra candy will impact your child’s health or whether or not you need to take charge, take a moment to breathe. Halloween is a holiday, one that graces us with its presence only one time each year. The day is meant to be fun, and as the celebration tends to center around candy, do your best to enjoy it without worrying about the feast that is about to ensue.

Sweet Management

When it comes to managing those treats, the options are endless, though what works for one family, may not work for another. Some families allow their kids to select a certain number of treats out of their bag and give the rest away, while others may allow their children to pick one treat per day until they are gone, and of course there are parents who may simply allow their kiddos to enjoy their treat basket without any limitations at all. 

Whatever you decide, know that your method may require trial and error with a dash of flexibility. Case in point: Last year, a friend of mine decided that she was going to let her daughter eat as much candy as she wanted, hoping that by not placing any restrictions on her daughter she would choose a healthy amount on her own. Needless to say, things didn't quite work out as planned. Instead, her daughter ended up eating more than her tiny tummy could handle and was sick by bedtime. Lesson learned? My friend wasn’t willing to risk it again and has decided to limit her daughter’s treats for this Halloween.

Here are a few ideas that may help prevent such tummy troubles in your household this Halloween and for many more to come.

  1. Serve Candy for Supper. By incorporating one piece of candy onto the dinner plate, you are able to take the focus off of desert and set it on an equal playing field with the other components of the meal. Of course, I am not saying that candy is nutritionally equal to vegetables, but what I am trying to convey is that by not affording candy special status, you are keeping things on a level playing field. One food is not going to magically make us fat or skinny; we need to consider the overall picture. If your child is eating a balanced diet throughout the day, I certainly wouldn't be stressing over a sweet treat at meal time.
  2. Talk to Your Kids. Before, during, and after Halloween, take time to gather your children’s opinion on candy. Ask them what they think is a healthy amount of candy to have each day or how candy makes them feel. This open dialogue may surprise you, or, if nothing else, at least provide you with a few laughs!
  3. Divvy Them Up. Invite your child to help you divide their treats among resealable snack bags. By allowing your child to select their choice of a limited number of treats per bag, you are giving them more control in the decision making process and, hopefully, helping them feel included in the decision to limit their treats to one baggie each day.
  4. Extend The Fun. It may help your child if they know that by limiting their indulgence to one treat per day, they will be able to extend their treat basket much longer than if they were to simply dive in all at once.
  5. Downsize. Choose an appropriately sized trick-or-treating basket. The smaller the size, the less candy you will acquire. Once it’s full, you’re done!
  6. Sit Down and Savor. Designate the dining room table as the candy locale. When it’s treat time, make sure each family member savors the flavor without distraction rather than eating mindlessly in front of the television.
  7. Donate, Buy Back, or Trade Up. More and more families are choosing to donate their candy. You can also opt for one of the ‘">buy back’ programs or simply invite your little ones to trade it in for something more valuable - such as a new toy, book, or night out with mom or dad.
  8. Hide the Goods. Store the rest of the candy away in a cupboard or in the freezer. Out of sight, out of mind (hopefully!).

One final tip: With this holiday still a few weeks away, hold off on purchasing your goodies until the Great Pumpkin arrives. Otherwise, the tempting treats may mysteriously disappear before the trick-or-treaters even come knocking. ;)

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