Halloween Candy is Dandy, in Moderation

| October 31, 2014
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Click below to listen to KMZU’s Ashley Johnson speak with Nutrition and Health Education Specialist Tammy Roberts.

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With Halloween bringing in all that candy and chocolate here is some advice from Tammy Roberts.

Do Dentist bills scare you more than goblins lining the sidewalks on Halloween?

“When the candy monster lurks, parents can pull out their bag of tricks to keep sugar at bay,” says University of Missouri Extension Nutrition Specialist Tammy Roberts. “Halloween is a good time to teach children about healthy habits and moderation.”

Don’t forbid or restrict candy entirely. Instead, teach children about moderation so that they don’t learn to hoard candy or see it as a “forbidden fruit.”

Here are a few tricks to help good “ghouls” and guys from spoiling your nutrition efforts.

Don’t buy Halloween candy weeks in advance. It’s difficult for adults and children to pass up those fun-sized treats. The “just one” monster lurks in every bag, Roberts says. Consider buying candy that is not your favorite. You’ll be less tempted.

Eat, then treat. Feed youngsters a healthy mean before they go trick-or-treating so they don’t replace dinner with candy. They’ll be excited and may not want to eat, but make it a fun, warm meal with a Halloween theme.

Limit the number of houses that your children can visit. Give them a two- to three-block radius so they get a limited amount of treats from known neighbors and friends. Send them with a small sack or container rather than a pillowcase.

When Youngsters return, limit the amount they can eat that night. Let them choose a few pieces that night and in following days. This helps them with decision-making skills and self-control.

Put the rest of the candy away in a place that is not readily accessible, like a cookie jar or container in the cabinet. Storing it out of sight reduces the chances of mindless eating.

Consider freezing chocolate for another time, and hold some candy back for decorating gingerbread houses at Christmas.

Consider taking excess candy to the office. You might not want to waste the candy, but you can’t afford to “waist” it either.

Be a good role model for your child if you hose a party, Roberts says. Offer healthy snacking options for neighborhood children or family members. Make it a seasonal menu with alternatives to candy like apple cider, pumpkin muffins, nuts, trail mix, small boxes of raisins or individual bags of pretzels. Offer an apple-dunking area or popcorn booth. Label foods with themed names.

Consider giving away items like pencils, stickers or other small gifts instead of candy. When a trick-or-treater comes to your door, pass out a little humor. It doesn’t cost anything and tricksters will come away with a chuckle and a fond memory:

Q. “How do you make a milk shake?” A. “Give it a good scare.”

Q. “What is a Pretzel’s favorite dance?” A. “The Twist.”


Remind children to brush and floss. Excessive candy contributes to tooth decay.


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