Worried about all the sugar your kids will be eating after they go trick-or-treating this Halloween? You’re definitely not alone. Some parents are concerned about a potential sugar rush, while others have diet culture anxiety and parent coach Oona Hanson says it makes sense to be scared “because we’ve been taught to be scared.” She explains, “Sugar is sort of the boogeyman in our current cultural conversation.”
Many parents limit their kids’ Halloween candy, but registered dietitian nutritionist Natalie Mokari warns that micromanaging could backfire and lead to an overvaluing of sweets and binge behavior. As much as you don’t want to see your child score more candy in one night than they would eat in an entire year, she says the best approach may be to lean into the joy. “They’re only in that age where they want to trick-or-treat for just a small glimpse of time— it’s so short-lived,” she explains. “Let them enjoy that day.”
That doesn’t mean experts are suggesting kids eat sugar all day every day, but they remind us that a healthy relationship with food has balance. And Mokari points out that you can keep your kids’ diets loaded with nutrients while allowing them to eat sweets. These tips can help relieve some of your candy-eating stress this Halloween:
- Watch how you talk - Saying things like “I really need to work out after all that sugar” or “”I can’t have candy in the house or I’m going to get so fat” can have a big impact on kids’ relationships with food and their bodies.
- Should you trade out the candy? - If your kids would rather trade candy for toys, sure, let them trade. But if they look at the full candy bag with glee, forcing them to get rid of it could make the sweets even more valuable in their minds.
- So should Halloween be a candy free-for-all? - Mokari warns that kids who have their candy highly restricted may start to value it more than they would otherwise. So she recommends trying to relax and remember that they may eat a lot of sweets on Halloween or the days after, but it’s not how they always eat.