As a child I always enjoyed getting dressed up and going trick or treating with my family and friends. I even more so enjoyed eating lots of candy! If you know me, you likely know I enjoy candy (I don't have it often, but when I do I REALLY enjoy it). I can still remember my favourite halloween treats (starbursts, sour patch kids, popeye candy sticks, and reese's peanut butter cups). These are fun memories that make halloween so nostalgic and exciting. However, with all that being said I believe there are ways to limit excessive sugar intake during halloween and enjoy your treats mindfully.
Tips to help your children enjoy halloween candy mindfully:
1. Have your children sort through their candy and divide them into two groups. The ones the love and the ones they don't love. This is an easy way to remove the "unloved" treats from your house and control how many treats are being eaten.
2. While enjoying the treats engage your children's senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound). Ask them questions like; how does the candy feel in your mouth (i.e, crunchy, mushy, chewy etc.), how many chews does it take to eat that candy? What does it smell like, taste like?
Engaging your child's senses will help promote mindful eating by having them think about the treat they are enjoying. It also slows down the process, leaving room for a smaller amount of treats.
Mindful eating game: using your senses!
Have your child pick their top 3 favourite treats.
Have them close their eyes or blindfold them. You (parent) pick 1 treat from the 3 and place it in their hands.
Have them use their other senses (taste, smell, touch etc.) to guess which of their favourite treats they are eating.
This activity helps promote mindful eating and will have your child focus on their senses to help determine which treat they are enjoying.
3. Explain how it is important to listen to your body and hunger. Even though it is exciting to have so many treats our bodies don't need a lot of sugar. Explain why it is important to only enjoy a couple treats at a time. Set limits that work for you and your family.
4. Eliminate distractions. When enjoying treats try to avoid eating them in front of the TV or other electronics, this promotes mindless eating.
Other tips for halloween night (for both parents and children):
1. Eat a balanced meal before heading out trick or treating. Having a nutritious meal will help ensure your child is feeling satisfied throughout the night and less likely to snack on all the treats.
2. You don't have to give out candy, perhaps give out halloween stickers, bouncy balls, tattoos, erasers, glow bracelets (the dollar store actually had tons of cute goodies that would also be appropriate to hand out).
3. Get rid of some of the candy (give them away or have your child trade them for non-candy items i.e., family movie night, time at the park, trampolining, ice skating etc.)
4. Set a candy limit. Perhaps only trick or treat until your child fills up a certain amount. This will help you control how much candy comes into the home.
I hope you can find a way to implement some of these tips and tricks before trick or treating this year. If you do, I would love to hear how it worked out.
If you are looking for some healthier alternatives check out these halloween swaps:
Cheers to happy and healthy eating (using all your senses).
Happy Halloween! :)
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Angela and Benish