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From our blog.

FREE Event – Dietitians’ Guide to a Fearless Halloween

Amy Gardner / October 24, 2022

We Promise, Candy is the LEAST scary part of Halloween!

Do you fret about having Halloween candy in the house? Plan ahead for how to get rid if it as soon as possible after? Let your kids pick out a certain number of candies and donate the rest?

If you feel at a loss or conflicted about how to manage Halloween candy in your home, you are NOT alone!  Candy angst plagues many adults, and particularly parents this time of year.

Here are some common things we hear.

“What do I do with all the leftover candy? I can’t have it in my house, I’ll eat it all.”
“I make sure to buy candy I don’t like and that way, I won’t eat it.”
“My child has no shut off when it comes to sweets, I need to get it out of the house.”

These common concerns are understandable in the context of prominent messaging about potential health consequences of sugar (which are at best over-stated and more often, sensationalized, and lacking validity).

Many people assume (understandably) that removing access to sweets is the answer.  The problem is, when you take drastic measures to control your child’s candy stash and keep sweets out of the house, you aren’t protecting them from sugar… you’re inciting fear.

These practices send a strong message: Candy is bad! Don’t eat it!

These internalized messages lead to thoughts like “I’m bad for wanting candy” and as a result, feelings of fear, guilt, and shame….  three things that we absolutely want to keep out of kids’ relationship with food!

It may be hard to read this, especially if you’ve engaged in these practices but as dietitians working with eating disorders, we want you to know so you can DO BETTER!  We also totally understand the intention behind these actions.  You want your child to be healthy and have a good relationship with food.  We want that for you and your children too!

Ironically (or not) when you send the message that candy or sugar is “bad”, your child’s desire for it doesn’t decrease.  In fact, you likely increase their psychological drive for it.  This is a very natural consequence to deprivation.  Offering sweets to children on a regular basis prevents them from losing control when they are present.  And, by the way, this concept applies to YOU too!

Take a moment to imagine yourself as a child.  You’ve just brought home all your Halloween candy and are so proud as you sort through it, trading items you don’t like with friends and siblings.  Now, imagine your parent tells you to pick x number of items to keep and the rest will be donated.  How do you feel?

Now, think about times when you may have restricted items from your own diet, maybe sugar.  What do you notice during those times?  Do you think less about the items you’ve excluded?  Do you want them less?

The primary goal of feeding kids is to help them become competent eaters who can feed themselves someday. As simple as that sounds, it can be very hard to know how to do that with click bait headlines making you question all the food choices you make.

We’re here to help!  If you would some ideas on how to manage the Halloween candy with your kids in a way that doesn’t invoke fear, shame or guilt, we hope you’ll join us on Halloween at noon for a virtual event where some of our dietitians will discuss common issues clients present this time of year and how they help them navigate through them.

Topics discussed will include: mindful eating strategy you can use throughout the holidays, helpful child feeding practices, suggestions for managing Halloween candy.

Register Here