Come Monday night, this weekend even, children will be coming back home with their trick-or-treat bags just filled to the brim with candy. How can we make sure that we give children a healthy Halloween and make it through the beginning of the sweetest time of the year?
It’s important we understand how bad candy is for us. There are health effects, dental effects, even psychological effects of consuming all that candy.
The increased amount of sugar we consume has been linked to diabetes and obesity in both children and adults. Aside from that, the sugars found in candy is changing our children’s taste buds. As we expose kids to very sugary foods, we are altering their taste buds, making foods with natural sugars, like fresh fruits and vegetables, taste less sweet – less appealing.
Let’s talk about the psychological effects. Halloween doesn’t help us teach moderation. Children are actually taught very early on to try to fill their bags as full as they can with candy before they go home, or even worse, they feel they need to eat all that candy at one time.
You know that “just this once” phrase you probably use more than just one time? That actually has a lasting effect. You may be thinking “well what’s the big deal if my child binges on Halloween candy just once a year?” Well, that one binge can lead to cravings for other things, like soda, sugary cereals, pastries, etc., all of which have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. Not to mention, right after Halloween comes Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays we love to eat foods at.
So, are you a bad parent if you let your children eat Halloween candy? Ask yourself this: Are you enabling the candy craze, or are you modeling healthy habits and moderation?
As a parent, we are responsible for educating our children and setting them up with healthy habits that hopefully they’ll carry into adulthood. We probably aren’t going to hinder them from going trick-or-treating, but by modeling and teaching them what can happen when exposed to situations and holidays like Halloween, the outcome will determine their habits around sugar and sweets for life.