Oh boy, the “big day” is just around the corner and my kids are bursting at the seams to get at all that candy! They’re counting the sleeps, getting costumes and bags ready, and dreaming of chocolate and lollipops.
Now my kids can appreciate the difference between good food, and “treat” food, and I can appreciate how EXCITING it is to get all that candy. So, what’s a health-conscious Mama to do when this day rolls around every year? Here’s how I strike the balance.
1. Up the “good food” ante in the days and weeks leading up to Halloween. As the big day approaches, we reinforce how important healthy eating is every day, and limit treats outside of our usual “Friday night” ritual. I think that helps them appreciate the uniqueness of Halloween, and see it as a very special day (or two).
2. Sort first, eat later. I burst with pride last year when my then 5-year old daughter brought over a pack of “pop rocks” and said “these belong in the garbage don’t they, Mom?” We throw out most of the real junky type food, but keep the chips and chocolate bars.
3. Set expectations before treats are collected. My kids know that they can dig into their loot for a couple of days, but once the weekend rolls around the treats go away and go into the pile of “special treats”, and not everyday food.
4. Lead by Example. In addition to a food treat, we give out mini play-doh every year. It reinforces the message that treats don’t always have to be food!
5. Relax. My husband is good at keeping my sugar fanaticism in check, reminding me that our kids eat well 95% + of the time, and that it’s ok to let them enjoy this.