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6 tricks to balancing your kids' treats on Halloween

What parent doesn’t fear the shrieking, sugar-infused mayhem of Halloween?  When candy-filled little bodies ultimately crash at the end of a late night, it usually results in one doozy of a tantrum. Now that’s a scary Halloween.

What can you do to help your Princess Leia or Harry Potter this October 31st? Here’s a plan for parents to survive Halloween, avoiding the extreme sugar highs and lows:

  • Plan a pre-holiday family meeting – Parents, meet with your kids before Halloween trick-or-treating or parties and work together to come up with a plan for how much candy they can have. Make them a part of the decision making process so they feel they have some say.
  • What’s better, what’s worse? – Look out for food dyes and colours as some kids react; allergies, behavioural issues or difficulty sleeping.  If chocolate is their favourite, have some healthier choices (organic or dark choc) on hand to trade the ‘junk’ ones for and talk about why you are trading (and don’t forget to mention that in your family meeting).
  • Post-holiday colds and flus – Ever notice an increase in colds, flu or tummy aches post sugar rush? Sugar can depress the immune system for hours, and as there’s already a bunch of colds going around – bear that in mind before she tucks into her bag of loot. Boost the immune system with some probiotics for a week or so before, give some extra vitamin C (powders work well – mix in water or dilute juice) to try to dodge the sickness that’s likely to follow October 31st. I always see a spike in issues with breast fed babies or toddlers, parents and kids—from colds and flus, to digestive upsets, headaches and eczema flare-ups. Sugar can be to blame in most cases here (sorry!). 
  • Offer a balanced dinner before – Help keep those blood sugar levels from peaking and crashing with a pre-trick-or-treating meal, which is a balance of carbs, veggies and protein. Take a water bottle with you en route with diluted juice, or thermos with a favourite herbal tea as it’s usually chilly.
  • Start a new trend – Start a new trend of giving out small toys to your trick or treaters.  Talk about giving out healthier choices and alternatives.  My faves include: 1) Glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets – a visit to the dollar store got a whole lot healthier! 2) Stickers or temporary tattoos. 3) Candies and other treats made with alternative sweeteners.  Whole Foods Market has a fantastic assortment of lollipops and individually wrapped treats that won’t have your dentist running for cover. 4) Candies or treats made with natural food colourings including beet, carrot and others.
  • Trade up the Loot – is there something that your little princess or Spiderman has been coveting?  Suggest a trade of their bag of loot (after some nibbling of course) for a longer lasting treat, or have the “Halloween Pumpkin” (cousin of the tooth fairy) come a day after Halloween and leave that special something in its place.

Now if I could only convince my husband that eating all those traded in treats isn’t great for him either, he’d be laughing all the way to the dentist!

What are you and your kids going as this year? Share your pics here.

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