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As your Colorado Springs dentist, we encourage parents to approach Halloween as a learning opportunity for the entire family. Candy, chocolate and other treats are part of life, and sheltering kids from eating less healthy foods won’t always teach them how to manage and regulate healthier eating habits as adults. This year, we would like to explore some suggestions on how to let your children enjoy Halloween treats without going overboard.
Use Halloween as an opportunity to grow together as a family. Consider the example you are setting with your own eating habits. Do your kids see you making your way to the candy bowl while making dinner, or every time you walk by the candy bowl on the counter? Practice the same balanced food habits you want your family to adopt.
Out of sight, out of mind holds true for children and adults. Creating boundaries such as not allowing your kids to keep candy and food in their room is a great start. Another option is having a rule where food must stay in the kitchen, to include no eating in the living room. Less healthy options should also be put away in a cupboard and not left out on the counter for all to see, leading to grabbing mindlessly. The idea is to encourage mindful eating, rather than distracted eating while on the go. Eating small amounts of treats will help children learn to savor and enjoy food.
Allowing kids to have some treats from Halloween after a meal or snack results in less room for candy, leading to them feeling more satisfied. Eating treats after a meal also helps to slow down the sugar rush when they have more fat and protein in their system. Adding a treat in their lunchbox will keep them interested in the healthier food options knowing they also get a sweet reward to go along with it.
When having a conversation with your kids about food, focus on making healthy choices rather than controlling weight. Have them pick out the candy they love from their night out trick-or-treating and give the rest away, this will keep them excited about their reward in moderation. The idea is to want kids to savor food, more importantly, enjoy the treats they love rather than aim for volume, leading to not taking pleasure in what they are eating. Remember, practicing better habits means a happy and healthy family.