June 5, 2023

How Much Halloween Candy Should Kids Eat? A nutritionist weighs

Nutritionist Abbey Sharp explains how much candy children should eat on Halloween. (Photo via Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult a qualified medical professional before starting any physical activity or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Halloween is here, so you know what that means—it’s time for you and your kids to pick out a last-minute costume (if you haven’t already!) and stock up on Halloween candy.

However, many parents wonder how much candy their kids should eat after your kids have run around the neighborhood and come home with a bag of their catch.

Before you let your dressed-up kids dive into their sugary bonus, consider some helpful strategies to keep them from turning into candy monsters.

In an interview with Yahoo Canadanutritionist Abbey Sharp talks about controlling children’s candy intake and shares techniques for keeping the holidays fun and relaxing.

“While I know a lot of parents are totally freaked out that their kids are eating sugar and eating all their Halloween candy in one night, I think we should think of it as a learning opportunity to help our kids develop their intuitive eating skills,” says Sharp.

Should parents limit their children’s Halloween candy? Why are parents concerned about their children’s sugar intake?

According to Sharp, many parents worry that their children can’t control themselves around their sweets, leading to sugar spikes and hyperactive behavior.

“Most parents are worried that their kids won’t be able to control themselves around candy, and will gobble themselves up for weeks after Halloween and never eat vegetables again,” explains Sharp.

“But research suggests that the more sweet foods we make new or banned, the more likely kids are to overeat them,” she adds.

“Research suggests that the more new or forbidden sweet foods we make, the more likely children are to overeat them.”Abbey Sharp

In addition, the mother of two believes that parents should use Halloween as a “teaching tool” to be aware of how food makes their children feel.

“Halloween can be a really important teaching tool to help our kids understand how food affects them…while I think most parents limit their children’s access to Halloween candy, this can often backfire and foster a lifelong obsession with sweets.” Sharp adds in a YouTube video on the subject.

How much candy should kids eat on Halloween: Should parents control their kids’ sugar intake?

Simply put, Sharp doesn’t believe parents should control their kids’ sugar intake. However, he recommends a protocol that parents use during Halloween.

“On Halloween night, feed them a balanced dinner that’s high in saturated fiber, protein, and fat. When they bring their catch home, let them eat as much as they want that night,” says Sharp. “If they complain about a stomach ache, use it as a teachable moment.”

After Halloween is over, the nutritionist suggests spreading out how often and when the kids get their candy.

“A day or two after Halloween, pick a snack time and let them pick whatever they want out of the bag with no limit. This reminds them that the candy isn’t that special after all, so it takes away its charm,” she explains.

After a few days of getting used to it, Sharp says, most kids lose interest in eating large amounts of candy.

Halloween Jack o Lantern bucket with candy splashes on a dark background

After Halloween is over, Sharp suggests telling how often kids get access to their candy. (Photo via Getty Images)

Is there anything parents should avoid when it comes to Halloween candy?

Sharp believes that children need to be given (relative) free rein when it comes to their candy.

But when it comes to Halloween candy, she has an important message for parents themselves who may be losing weight during the scary season: “don’t buy candy you don’t like.”

“Diets tell you to only buy the candies you don’t like so you won’t be tempted to eat them. This just makes you hard-wired to raid your kids’ booty, which only increases your distrust of your kids and your body,” says Sharp. “If you like Mini Snickers, buy Mini Snickers. A daily Halloween candy is good for the soul.”

A five-step system for Halloween

Sharp’s methods include a five-step system for making the most of Halloween as a family — including candy.

1. Enjoy the night as a family

According to Sharp, Halloween is not only a great teaching tool, but it’s also a really fun way to get out with the family.

“If your life situation allows, avoid driving from neighborhood to neighborhood for ‘good candies’ and instead take the opportunity to walk the neighborhood together as a family,” she suggests.

“Give your kids unlimited access to candy for two to three days. This is where we teach kids that it’s not special or new, it’s not worth hiding or getting drunk on.”Abbey Sharp

2. Let the kids sort and eat whatever they want on Halloween night

“When your kids get home from trick-or-treating, they’ll inevitably want to bust out and show off their catch to their siblings, and they’ll want to try it. Let them,” Sharp reveals.

The nutritionist also says you don’t want to limit your kids’ sugar intake, even if you think they’re eating a lot of candy, which “is totally fine because it’s just one night.”

3. Allow two to three days of unlimited access

Sharp says that kids need some consistency to learn that candy is nothing special and that we can use our bodies to tell when we’ve had enough.

“Give your kids unlimited access to candy for two to three days. Here, we teach kids that it’s not a good idea to hide or sneak,” she says. “After three days, the tension starts to fade and kids can connect that eating lots of sugar doesn’t make us feel great. They start eating less candy without prompting or restriction.”

5. Serve balance

During Halloween, focus on making sure the meals and snacks you serve are generally balanced.

“It’s a good idea to send your child trick-or-treating with a full stomach, a well-balanced meal, think roasted broccoli and sweet potato,” Sharp recommends, but notes that the meal may vary depending on your diet. restrictions.

General advice for parents at Halloween parties

“The best advice I can give parents when it comes to Halloween candy and kids is to just relax. It’s one day of the year, so let’s not let our own distractions around food rub off on our kids,” says Sharp.

In addition, the nutritionist adds that the way we talk about food is important.

“Don’t call loot ‘junk food,’ ‘toxic,’ ‘poison,’ or ‘bad food.’ Call each sweet what it is—whether it’s a mini chocolate bar, candy corn, or chips,” she says. “Language matters, and it’s important that we speak in morally neutral terms if we want our children to have a morally neutral relationship with food.”

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us Twitter and Instagram.

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