One of the most exciting nights of the year for children is Halloween. From dressing up in a costume to collecting a mountain of candy, this holiday is the epitome of childhood wonder. That doesn’t mean that all that sugar and spice is everything nice. Piles of candy can lead to overeating, sugar crashes, and unnecessary amounts of artificial sugar, dyes, and processed sugar. So, what is the best strategy for keeping excessive amounts of candy out of the house, and what do you do when you end up with more candy than you can…or should…eat?
First, consider some healthy options for Halloween treats. If you love scary movie night, ditch the popcorn caked in butter and try out SkinnyPop Popcorn. You can also make simple substitutions in Rice Crispy Treats by using Smashmallow and Smash Crispy Marshmallow Treats. For chocolate lovers, try Oatmega cookies and protein bars, and instead of Candied Apples give Bare Cinnamon Apple Chips a try. Even a classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup can be switched out for Unreal Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups!
You can also consider alternatives to candy, a more inclusive option for children with allergies! Some fun alternatives include bouncy balls, mini-flashlights or glow bracelets, fake mustaches, or stickers. These alternatives will not only keep your kids busy a lot longer than that candy, but it will also decrease the amount of candy that ends up in your house to begin with!
If, however, you do end up with piles of candy this year, you can always donate some of it to bring some joy to your community and prevent severe binge-eating! Operation Gratitude, Operation Shoebox, Operation Trick or Treating for the Troops, and Treats for Troops are all excellent organizations that collect and donate candy to soldiers and first responders, spreading some Halloween cheer to those away from home and protecting our families. Kids can earn prizes in exchange for sharing their Halloween loot, an awesome incentive to clearing out the pantry. Or, you could consider Halloween Candy Buy Back, in which a group of businesses exchange candy for healthy items! So, trade in those candy bars for toothbrushes or hygiene kits and promote healthy living. Another awesome solution to overflowing candy bags is to donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Spread some Halloween cheer for families and severely ill children in need of support and kindness. You can also call your local food bank or homeless shelter so people in a tough spot this holiday season can still celebrate.
Of course, you will inevitably find your family indulging in a few sweet treats this season. So instead of fighting it, why not think about some healthy eating strategies. For example, model moderation and practice setting boundaries on how many pieces of candy can be eaten in a day. You may consider having candy only after dinner, so your family is full before the sweet treats come out, making it less likely they will overeat on treats. Many families make a plan for responsible consumption of Halloween candy, so kids can learn how to portion control and provide their bodies with healthy nutrients before they have the small treat. Whatever you decide to do, there’s nothing to fear! Halloween may be filled with spooky monsters, but with these tips managing the candy pile won’t be one of them.