Regulating Halloween's sugar high
Dr. Suzanne Nielsen is a pediatrician on staff at Banner Health Center in Gilbert. Her office can be reached at (480) 649-6600. To find a Banner Health Center or clinic in your area, visit www.bannerhealth.com/bmg.
Question: My children will be getting a lot of candy at Halloween. Can you please provide some tips for regulating their sugar intake when there are so many temptations?
Answer: Halloween is around the corner, and that means your adorable princesses and pilots, ghouls and goblins are going to be lugging home sacks full of sugary snacks. So, what can parents do to regulate how much candy your kids eat? Here are a few things you can do to make sure Halloween is about costumes and fun, not stomachaches and sugar crashes.
One way to avoid temptation is by not buying the candy or treats you will pass out too early. Halloween candy seems to be put out on store shelves earlier and earlier, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy it earlier. The longer candy is around, the greater the likelihood of your kids sneaking a piece here and there. Also, you may want to consider handing out snacks other than candy, such as snack packs of crackers, dried fruit, or trail mix.
If your kids do go trick-or-treating, go through their bags of goodies before they tear into them. First, you want to make sure what they have is safe to eat. Second, divide the candy into smaller, more reasonable portions. You can allow your kids to have a little at a time. Think about using the remaining candy as an incentive for chores, doing homework, or good behavior.
Further, just because they have a sack full of candy doesn’t mean they need to eat it all. Find other ways to dole out the candy. Take some candy to work. A wonderful option that has popped up during the last few years, are candy buyback programs. Many area dentists and orthodontists participate in these programs and will pay money for leftover candy. This candy is then sent to our brave military members who are serving overseas, or to other military support groups. You can find information on candy buyback programs on line.
Have a happy and safe Halloween, and if you have any additional questions or concerns about what your children are eating or should eat, talk with your healthcare provider.