Candy Coma: How to Avoid the Sugar Overload this Halloween

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Halloween night is fast approaching, are you prepared?   Your child has had their costume since July, candy has been bought for the trick-or-treaters,  and you have jack-o-lanterns on your doorstep, but are you ready for the havoc that often comes with the POUNDS of candy and excitement that your child brings home after trick or treating?  Here are some helpful ideas to avoid meltdowns and insure a happy Halloween for you and your little pumpkin.

  1. Candy Exchange: Dentists in our area advertise buying back Halloween candy from kids, what a great idea!  They donate it to local shelters in exchange for buying your child’s candy by the pound.  If no one in your area is doing this, you can buy it back from them, and have them earn money or turn it in for a prize.
  2. Trading Candy: If your child has an allergy or simply cannot handle sugar (most kids cannot), then trading their candy for a prize can be more exciting than eating mounds of Snickers.  Parents I work with use a counting system 50 pieces = movie night 100= new video game, get creative here and have your kids come up with rewards too.  They will be more invested if they are part of the process.  Another idea, trade it for healthier treats that they like: fruit leather, chips, or salty snacks.
  3. Gluten Free and Healthy Candy: Yes its true, there are sweet snacks that wont cause your child to feel like they have “ODed” on M&Ms.   Allow them to trade in their gluten filled candy for gluten free. Here is a great blog post about having a “Gluten Free Halloween”  and a list of Gluten Free Candies is available here
  4. Sort and Store it:  One of the most exciting times of the year for kids is coming home, emptying your Halloween pail and sorting throw the goods.  Allow your child to do this, parent supervision is often required to check for safety, then let them chose one treat a day, whether its with their after school snack or after dinner.  If they can tolerate sugar this is a great way to teach them healthy moderation.  Store it somewhere out of eye sight and let them know its available once a day.
  5. Protein: Before heading out to trick or treat, or that Halloween party filled with junk food, candied apples, and kids keyed up on a sugar high, consider giving your child a protein filled meal or snack.  This will allow their brain to be less hyper-focused on candy, they will be less likely to have sugar cravings, and it keep their blood sugar from spiking.  Get creative and make themed snacks, nachos with cheddar cheese and top with olives (hide beans under the chips for added protein), deviled eggs that look like eye balls, or hot dog mummies.

Don’t forget to send your kids out with supervision, a flash light, and a fully tummy.  Happy Halloween Everyone!

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