by Mary Alice Cookson
Worried about the candy your child will collect and consume on and after Halloween? Follow these expert tips:
▪ “Try to keep Halloween from being all about candy,” says Paige Katzenstein, registered dietitian with Cambridge Health Alliance. “Focus instead on the fun event of picking out the costume, putting it on, going trick or treating or to a party and enjoying the people you’re with.
▪ Limit the size of your child’s trick or treat bag or basket. Nix the king-size pillowcase! For the treats you give out, stick to fun-size candy or snack packs of 100 calories. After Halloween, dole out the candy in small amounts per day.”
▪ Keith Kantor, Ph.D., a leading natural food advocate and author of What Matters (Effective Press, 2012), recommends “higher-quality brands of Halloween candy that are sweetened without high fructose corn syrup, like Newman’s Own chocolate or Annie’s Organic fruit snacks. The bottom line is ‘sugar is sugar,’ and children and adults should not consume excessive amounts of sugar at all, even the alternative organic brands.”
▪ Don’t buy your candy until you are ready to pass it out, suggests Kantor. “If you do buy it early, hide it from your kids (and yourself) until Halloween day. Having a piece here and there the days leading up to Halloween can put you at risk for increased sugar cravings due to the fluctuating insulin levels from the extra sugar.”
▪ Teach kids “candy is not good for them,” says Jeffrey Karen, DDS, a pediatric dentist at Dentistry for Children in South Weymouth, “and although they get a lot of it on Halloween, that doesn’t mean it all needs to be eaten. They can donate their candy to our troops. Or they can just throw it out! Many organizations have drop-off centers; and some dentists’ offices participate in a candy donation program. For the younger children, some parents use the concept of the Switch Witch or Fairy … children leave their candy in a bag and the witch or fairy comes at night, takes their candy and leaves them a prize like the tooth fairy."
Mary Alice Cookson is associate editor of Boston Parents Paper.