GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

October 25, 2013

How to set limits on your kid's Halloween candy craze

The countdown is on to all the Halloween festivities, but all that candy can take a toll on kiddies’ health and parents’ mental health as they try to curb the sugar intake.

According to NielsenWire, the latest statistics show that Americans buy nearly 600 million pounds of candy during the Halloween season. That boils down to about 1.9 pounds of candy per person. Sugar, the primary ingredient in all good candy, has little nutritional value and can negatively impact a person’s mood and energy level, increase hyperactivity and is highly addictive. Why all the attraction to something so bad for us? Because it’s good; it’s abundant. We view it as part of every celebration, and during Halloween, candy tastes better than at any other time of the year!

Regardless of what our taste buds are telling us to do, with obesity and diabetes on the rise, not to mention the scare from the dentist, parents need to limit candy consumption without eliminating it. One of the biggest mistakes that parents make during Halloween is not teaching balance and moderation when it comes to holiday candy and intake. Parents who view sweets as treats at a time of indulgence such as Halloween or Christmas, are setting an expectation. They are sending the message that candy is for special times, not every day. The tricky part is getting the kiddies on board, and while there is no magic potion, here are my wicked good tips:

Teach kids to leave room for the candy and not overeat during mealtime.

Practice moderation of sweet intake during holidays. Parents who micromanage intake may end up with a child who overcompensates by sneaking candy or overeating any chance he gets.

Use judgment and moderation to help children participate in the holiday festivities and still be healthy and safe. Regardless of whether a child has a weight issue, is a diabetic, or has a mental or physical disability, because they are a child, they will want some candy for Halloween and at the holidays.

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