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How to avoid the Halloween sugar rush

Suzanne Ellis | posted Thursday, Oct 23rd, 2014

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Let’s face it. As fun as the jack-o’-lanterns, crazy costumes, and scary movies are, if you’re a kid, Halloween is really all about the trick-or-treat candy haul.

For parents, the idea of their children hopped up on sugar for days on end is positively shudder-inducing, not to mention the fact that the treats are bad news, nutrition-wise. On the other hand, you want your kids to enjoy the occasion, and not letting them have any of their hard-earned Halloween loot seems downright mean.

So where’s the balance? We asked Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh of Sweet Potato Chronicles for their help in ensuring a happy, not-entirely-unhealthy, Halloween for all.

Says Keogh: “I think the hunt is always more fun than the stomach ache of over-indulging. As parents, it’s our jobs to teach moderation. Kids should be allowed to pick a few items they can feast upon on the night of Halloween. It’s when they’re most excited about the loot and one night of sugar-coma won’t kill them. However, after that, there have to be limitations.”

Marsh devised a pretty ingenious strategy to limit the amount of candy consumed post-Halloween – she and her husband sit down with their kids and put a modest price tag on the candy, and then the kids ‘sell’ it to them in exchange for a few dollars that can be put toward a new toy. If they choose to, they can hold onto some of their favourite treats.

“They went for it!” Marsh enthuses. “Of course then the real trick is tossing the excess away rather than my husband and I snacking away at it after the kids go to bed over the course of two months.”

Regardless of whether you decide to try this with your kids, make sure that as the adult, you’re the keeper of the trick-or-treat bag, Keogh advises.

“I don’t think there is any circumstance when the trick-or-treat bag should be kept in a child’s room,” she says. “I know once they’re teenagers there is a lot more negotiation that may happen, but candy should never be stashed away in a kid’s room. You don’t let them stock groceries in there, so why let them keep the candy under the bed?”

Of course before any candy gets eaten, you’ll want to do the standard safety check and remove anything that’s homemade, along with candies that are unwrapped or look as though they may have been tampered with. If your child is allergic to something, be sure to remove any items with that ingredient.

Another way to limit the number of candies your little ones come home with is to make Halloween a two-part affair, says Marsh.

“Have one half of the night be about heading out all dressed up and collecting candy and the other half of the night helping to answer the door and hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters,” she suggests. “That way they’re still having fun but it’s not all about collecting that giant bag of sugar!”

While homemade treats are off-limits in the trick-or-treat bag, they’re great for sending along with your child for their Halloween party at school. Try these amazing pumpkin-gingerbread cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing, courtesy our Sweet Potato Chronicles friends!

For more delicious recipes and family meal ideas, visit www.sweetpotatochronicles.com.

For more Halloween content, check out Cityline.ca’s feature section here.

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