Halloween is one of the most anticipated holiday for kids. Kids are obsessed. Parents are obsessed. Some of us are excited by the treats and other are horrified by the pounds of sugar brought into our houses. How do we keep the kids from devouring endless numbers of Kitkats and Reese’s Peanut-butter Cups? How do we balance the sugar explosion with parental common sense? We can’t just throw it away! Because that means we are disposing of ……. Happiness… Garbage… Hard Earned Loot… Chemicals… Money… Delicious Food Coloring… A Kid’s Right to Happiness… Pounds of Sugar Good for No one…..
5 WAYS TO KEEP SUGAR IN CHECK THIS HALLOWEEN SEASON
The main concept of this article is to fill bellies up with good food and reduce the need for junk. Thus less whining, crying, and crying on.
1 – DON’T LET THEM LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT BREAKFAST
- Proteins like eggs, uncured bacon, nitrite free sausage, smoothies, whole fat greek yogurt or peanut butter.
- Add fruit and whole grain toast to complete the meal.
- Sugar cereal is not a good option. Cereal will leave them hungry and craving more sugar within 1.5hrs of getting to school.
2 – KEEP THE LUNCH SIMPLE
- Whole wheat sandwich with nitrite free turkey or salami, cheese, lettuce, condiment, fruit or veggie and water.
- Thermos of soup and side of grapes.
- Nitrite free turkey roll up with cheese and red peppers. Add water.
- A candy treat this week will be Ok. Keep it “fun sized” candy bar. The Sugar in the candy will be balanced by the fiber/protein/fat in the lunch and will lead to less sugar spike, less insulin spike = better digestion.
- NO!!!! juice, gatorade, granola bars, chips, fruit gummies, fruit roll ups, crackers in the lunch as extras. These extras are added sugar that shouldn’t be in a healthy lunch anyway, and especially if there is Halloween candy.
- If the healthy part of the lunch comes back, then no candy the next day!
3 – DO NOT SEND CANDY AS A SNACK TO SCHOOL
- Fruit or Veggie family: dried apple slices, grapes, frozen blue berries,
- Protein Family: cheese sticks, nuts if allowed, nut butter or sun butter and crackers
- Complex Carbohydrate Family: whole wheat crackers, popcorn. Gold fish do not count because they lack fiber and just turn to sugar after they get eaten.
- Candy at snack time = sugar rush. Followed by sugar crash = bad mood, talking out of turn, not focusing, falling out of chairs, acting like a clown, not finishing school work, not paying attention, and a very unhappy and frustrated teacher.
4 – KEEP FRUITS/VEGGIES/HIGH PROTEIN SNACKS ON THE COUNTER AFTER SCHOOL
- Starving kids will fill up on natural sugar before asking for the bad stuff if they see it as they walk in the door. Generally, if they see it, they will eat it. I assure you they will not ask for the healthy stuff, even if it’s washed and cleaned and in clear containers in the fridge. No, not even the teens.
- pistachios, almonds, walnuts,
- steamed edamame, roasted shelled edamame,
- cheese and whole wheat crakes,
- whole fat greek yogurt,
- rolled up nitrite free cold cuts,
- apple slices with nut butter
- If they are dying for a piece of candy, well, then no big deal since they won’t have room in their bellies for that much candy.
5 – IF YOU ALLOW CANDY AFTER DINNER, SET THE EXPECTATION ON THE AMOUNT ALLOWED NOW & FOR HOW LONG.
- No whining, no bargaining, no complaining allowed.
- If they complain about your rule, then No Candy.
- Make sure that they eat a meal with protein, veggies, and complex carbs. Mac and Cheese and Frozen Chicken Nuggets are not the correct answer. Expected serving size is 1Tablespoon per year of age of each, protein, veggies, complex carb such as whole grain rice.
- No dinner, no candy.
- Limit this dessert business to one week after Halloween, then the candy needs to be donated to the local dentist.
No, you are not throwing away money, happiness, or food. This isn’t food, nor should it be considered food. Save their health by taking this opportunity to discuss and demonstrate how we eat for our health in light of temptation!
Happy Trick or Treating, Ana-Maria Temple, MD