How to Unjunk Those Post-Halloween Candy Bags
The costumes and decorations are easy to clean up after the fact, but what about the effects of all the junk food they inhaled over the course of Halloween night? As aunts, we want to spoil our little ones rotten, but it's the parents who will have to deal with the wrath of this holiday for weeks after the kids have trick-or-treated!
As co-author of Unjunk Your Junk Food, I understand how candy is synonymous with Halloween. And to deny anyone of candy would be to deny them of fun. So, in an effort to make this year’s junk-filled excursions a little healthier, I have provided you with some useful tips you can share with your nieces and nephews and help them to understand why eating as much candy as they plan on eating may not be the healthiest choice for them.
Note: Many of these tips work well for younger children. However, you can apply several of them to older kids as well.
1. Make it healthy: This was something I did for many years until the kids realized what I was doing. I pre-bought “healthier” candy options made without artificial dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, or trans fats, and then swapped them for the junk food in their goody bags after they got home. (I somehow managed to do it while they were taking off their coats.) To be honest, they didn’t know the difference, and I felt better about what they were eating.
2. Take the opportunity to educate them: Sit together as a family, and separate the candy into “good” and “bad” piles. If you decide upfront which ingredients you will allow them to indulge in and which are off limits, there is less room for conflict when the time comes to set limits on how much they can eat. Ask them to separate the candy according to the ingredients on the labels (based on the ones I mentioned above). This is a good opportunity to explain why the ingredients you are banning are unhealthy for them. For a cheat sheet, click here.
3. One for me, one for you: Striking a deal that will allow your nieces and nephews to “trade in” some of their candies for non-junk items is a great way to limit their candy intake. They could trade in a few pieces of candy for a night at the movies or a fun day out with Auntie.
Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing I can recommend is to be safe and have fun!
Published: October 31, 2012