10 REAL LIFE WAYS TO TAME THE CANDY MONSTERS WE CREATED THIS HALLOWEEN
1 – DON’T LET THEM LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT BREAKFAST
2 – KEEP THE LUNCH SIMPLE
Pack a 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. A “fun size” candy bar added to a simple yet complete lunch will lead to less of a sugar rush. 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. But don’t have juice, 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 in the lunch. If the healthy part of the lunch comes back, then no candy the next day. This week is a great opportunity to demonstrate to kids how we balance healthy eating with junk food.
3 – DO NOT SEND CANDY AS A SNACK TO SCHOOL
Make sure the snack is in the Fruit or Veggie family: dried apple slices, grapes, frozen blue berries, Or Protein Family: cheese sticks, nuts if allowed, Or 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 – HAVE FRUITS OR VEGGIES ON THE COUNTER WHEN KIDS GET HOME FROM SCHOOL
Items such as 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 will fill them up on long lasting nutrition and curb their need for those Reese’s Pieces. 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, AND the sugar from the candy will be balanced with fiber/protein/fat for better absorption with less of a sugar rush.
6 – SET EXPECTATIONS TODAY FOR HOW LONG CANDY IS ALLOWED IN THE HOUSE.
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. They need chicken, fish, beans, pork, etc. Expected serving size is 1Tablespoon per year of age of each, protein, veggies, complex carb such as whole grain rice. No dinner, no candy. This is another great opportunity to discuss how we eat for health, not for fun.
8 – KEEP THEM ACTIVE AFTER SCHOOL.
No sitting around watching TV, playing video games, and thinking about candy. Make sure they play outside and have plenty to do to keep them burning off the Weekend Halloween Sugar Overload. Playdates are great to keep them distracted. Going to a park after homework is done can do the trick. Set a deal such as 30min of outdoor play = 15min of electronics. No outdoor play, no electronics. Set up a scavenger hunt – such as find 10 yellow leaves, 10 green leaves, 10 red leaves, 20 acorns, 5 sticks, 7 rocks, etc. Once they get the loot, they can have 15min of screen time. The idea is to get them outside moving.
9 – FIND A DENTIST WHO BUYS BACK CANDY TO SEND TO TROOPS
10 – MAKE SURE THEY GET 8-9 HRS OF GOOD SLEEP
When we sleep, our brain suppress the Hunger Hormone – Gherlin – so we are less likely to crave sugar. Furthermore, when we sleep we make more of the Hunger Stopping Hormone – Leptin – which tells the body when we are full, thus preventing endless eating of candy. So no electronics, including TV and phones 1-2hrs before bed. LED lights from electronics prevent kids/teeens from falling asleep easily and disrupt sleep all night long. Set bedtimes the same every night. Keep the amount of after dinner candy to 1 or 2 “fun size” pieces and no more. The sugar and chocolate in the candy will cause disrupted sleep patterns.