Many parents worry about the consumption of junk food on days like Halloween and how to best manage it.
If you’re feeling at all worried about the abundance of sweet treats – how much your kids can have and how much is too much, then you’re in the right place.
While we could share some tips about how to make the day as healthy as possible for your kid – e.g. by having a nutritious meal or snack before you go trick-or-treating. We actually have a more important message we want to share with you…
How to best approach sweets and halloween
When it comes to Halloween, the reality is that it is only one day of the year and Halloween doesn’t have to be your worst nightmare!
Try to use it as a learning experience with how to manage treats and how to practice mindfulness and self-regulation. The celebration will end and the lollies will disappear.
So how much is ok?
As much as they like!
While this might sound like odd advice coming from dietitians, it’s the truth. Try not to micromanage your child’s consumption and allow them to eat as much as they want on the day. Your child may surprise you by having a few and then deciding to save the rest or they’ll go the other way and gorge on them and eat until they feel sick.
By taking your child’s stash and policing it, you are only sending the message that your child cannot be trusted with it. In other words, this doesn’t teach them how to moderate their intake of treats.
Either way, by allowing your child to eat as much as they would like, it ultimately teaches them how to self-regulate their intake of treats. It also removes the “forbidden-fruit” factor. If kids have free rein to enjoy their sweets (or treat foods in general) sometimes, and they know that they are able to have them (in moderation) regularly, it takes the urgency to “get it in while you can!” away. It also decreases the chances of your kids sneaking lollies or over-indulging when you’re not there. And we promise you – one night of gorging on treats will not affect their long-term nutritional status or weight.
After Halloween, collect any leftover treats and put them in the pantry. Treat consumption then becomes part of snack time. You can offer it along with another food and your child can choose how much to enjoy at snack time. Of course don’t offer it at every meal, but every now and then is fine.
What happens if they eat too many sugary foods?
This is actually ok! In fact, the silver lining of this is that your child will probably discover when they eat too much they don’t feel great in the tummy.
As long as you don’t offer sweet treats too often, when you do we encourage you to let them eat until they feel satisfied.
At the end of the day if your child is gorging on sweets it is only likely to be one or two days, which in the whole scheme of things really isn’t going to make a huge difference on their health status.
- For more information relating to Toddler nutrition and healthy recipes, check out our Feeding Toddlers eBook.
- Check out our kids specific Instagram for kids nutrition advice and recipe ideas.