candy addicts anonymous

perhaps the scariest part of halloween is the massive intake of sugar nationwide.  the average kid will haul in over 7000 calories of candy & consume 3500 of those on halloween night alone. yikes! a hundred pound kid who consumed that much candy would need to walk for 44 hours or play full court basketball for 14.5 hours to burn that many calories states the birmingham school of public health.  the funny thing is halloween candy is shrinking, while we seem to be eating more of it, one individually wrapped chocolate bar at a time.  studies show that you are likely to eat significantly more of smaller packaged candy when many of those small packages are available than if you were presented with multiple full sized candies. so those small chocolate bars are probably worse than a case of full-sized candy bars.

with alarming obesity rates on the rise, i'm starting early to instill healthful habits in my little ones so they won't be a candy addict like their mom! however, i don't want to sacrifice any of the halloween fun & tradition.  this year our kids were young enough to not notice that the candy magically disappeared at the end of the night {& was placed into our halloween hand-out candy bowl}.  but next year davith might start to have some questions.  so here are some fun alternatives to the 7000 calorie component of halloween:
  • save only the most special candy: set a limit and have kids select a number of candy, say as many pieces as their age. donate or trash the rest.
  • plan a visit from the halloween witch: tell your kids a tale of the halloween witch {or fairy}.  like her cousin the tooth fairy, she sneaks in on the night of october 31 to spirit away candy -- and leave a special toy or other gift in its place.
  • buy then out with cold, hard cash: set a nominal price, say 5 cents each, for halloween candy & buy it back from your kids.
  • set up a candy swap shop: play store with them, using halloween candy as currency and healthier treats as merchandise.  kids can use chocolate bars & lollipops to purchase animal crackers, sugar-free gum, fruit leather, playdoh, bouncy balls, etc.
  • offset with exercise: for every piece of candy eaten require or encourage 10 - 30 minutes of exercise. example: one mini chocolate = 30 burpies, 30 jumping jacks & 5 laps around the house {dependent on age}
  • cook up a post-halloween treat for the neighbours: treats can be chopped up & mixed into cookie batter & toppings.  any candy looks good on a gingerbread house.
  • be a part of a healthy solution: hand out apples, pretzels, baked chips, raisins, small tubs of playdoh, balloons, temporary tattoos, bubbles, bouncy balls, stickers, crayons... and the list goes on!
  • if all else fails, tell them you ate it all:  i thought this was a funny little note to end on.  the last kids had me in tears! so funny... & terrible at the same time!

put your halloween nutrition knowledge to the test by going to the huffington post.

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