For health nuts and America's pancreatic function at large, Halloween is a frightening time, with tricks and treats being almost synonymous. Given the opportunity, kids and adults alike can rip through a plastic pumpkin full of ghoulish goodies in no time.
To ensure your kids' proper insulin function for another day to come, set some rules. It may be their candy, but parents are still in charge.
First, if you don't like it, pitch it! As you sort and inspect candy--For goodness' sake, inspect it!--anything you don't want your child to eat should be thrown away. Sure, make an exception for those Mary Jane's you loved as a kid, or something else. But if the cheap, junky candy made who-knows-where concerns you, pretend there's something wrong with it, and get rid of it!
Second, candy is not food. Munching on little bits of candy at a time throughout the day is actually worse than bingeing and getting it over with. Why? If your child eats candy throughout the day, an insulin spike will remain constant, which sets the cycle for your child wanting more and more, until he can't stop. Set limits! A few pieces in your child's lunch bag along with a regular healthful lunch, and a few more after dinner is quite reasonable, no matter how much you child complains.
Third, don't forget the toothbrush. Encourage your child to brush her teeth right after eating the candy you've allowed. It will not only help her forget that she was just eating sugar, but clean teeth discourage eating before bedtime.
Fourth, think of the little children. Many kids with food allergies still brave the old school door-to-door, or local trunk-or-treat events. Think of those kids when choosing which treats to pass out on Halloween. If you're taking a little one with food allergies to the Lousville Zoo Halloween Party, be sure to mention it to the volunteers passing out candy.
Of course, Halloween is supposed to be fun, and part of the fun is eating oneself to a tummy ache. But, setting boundaries and rules for kids (and ourselves) can help make that candy last a little further into November, and keep the health effects of everyone's favorite fall candy binge a little less spooky.
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Photo: Rachel Hurd Anger