Trick or Treat?

Growing up, I loved Halloween. Truth be told, I still do! My friends and I would plan our costumes for weeks ahead. Sometimes coordinating but never duplicating. About the only thing more 20141024_102313important than dressing up, was the loot we expected to gather during the night. We all new which houses gave out the best candy; the best being a full size candy bar.   Of course Mom made sure that we ate a good dinner including vegetables and a glass of milk before we went out the door.

Today’s focus on health often demonizes sugar and creates a culture of “never” when moderation  can still promote a healthy lifestyle  while allowing a candy treat.  Here’s the deal: highly restrictive eating practices may actually promote overeating later on. Research suggests that restriction may increase your child’s desire for and intake of the very treats that parents try to limit.

What if you flipped the Halloween reputation and turned it into an opportunity to promote a balanced lifestyle instead?

Start out the evening with a quick but healthy dinner so no one is tempted to nosh on candy along the way.

Next, turn this into a family activity. Everyone: Mom, Dad, kids and the dog go out for the walk. Up and down each driveway. Maybe add an extra block just for fun. Treat this as a start to an evening routine.

Once everyone is home and treats are checked for safety, you can use this opportunity to divide the candy into individual servings representing 100 calories or less in sandwich bags. Then, when your child is permitted a treat he/she will know the correct serving size.

You can improve the nutritional value of some of your favorite treats by combining a smaller amount with whole grain cereals, dried fruits and nuts to create a customized trail mix.

Dental caries can be a scary event. Eating any carbohydrate containing food can lead to to tooth decay. Keep your Goblin’s smile intact with frequent brushing and flossing, or at least rinsing teeth with water or chewing sugar-free gum after each meal or snack.

About nadineandadamblog

Nadine and Adam are mother and son. Nadine lives in Florida where she has provided outpatient MNT in a large healthsystem for the past 20 years. In addition, she teaches nutrition to second and third year family medicine residents. She is a past-spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Adam lives in Washington State. His career has largely been involved in recipe development and food production. He is currently developing recipes and menus for the Seattle schools to meet the new federal guidelines for school nutrition programs and he does outpatient nutrition counseling. He is also a voice in PSAs over Seattle radio representing the Washington Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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