Just in case you missed my last newsletter, we discussed the first 3 tips for handling the halloween hangries with your kids.
This can be a such a stressful time of year for us parents. We worry so much about our kids health and the impact of those not-so-great treats.
I'm reminding you again today to take a step back, a deep breath, and let them enjoy this special time of year.
Just a quick recap of the first 3 tips:
Tip #1: Load 'Em Up On Protein
Tip #2: Don't Make Candy The Enemy
Tip #3: Halloween Candy Haul Hoops
Now, Let's Dive Back In!
Tip #4: Create A Family Candy Code
Sit down together and talk about what you think is reasonable way to handle the rest of the stash. Is one or two pieces per day reasonable?
When do they want to eat them? In their lunch or with dinner or snacks at home?
Decide together what a reasonable portion is - but obviously this is correlated to you the age of your child.
The key here is to let them have a say in the management of the candy. By doing this, you take away the power from the candy to your kids.
Part of this conversation can be explaining the importance of pairing our treats with a protein, healthy fat or even veggies and dip to make sure we can keep our focus and energy consistent.
So, don't be afraid to give their treat WITH their dinner or snack.
I know this sounds scary, but I promise these approaches have been well studied. And - for me as a mom, they just feel more 'right' to me than restriction and setting hard rules and boundaries around food.
Take the worry and throw it out the window.
You are teaching them powerful lessons about how food affects their mental and physical health, you are not restricting their intake and you are showing that there is no such thing as good and bad foods.
These are some of the most important lessons that you can teach them. Halloween is not every day. It's 100% fine for them to eat candy during this special time and we need to take the guilt and burden off our shoulders as parents - otherwise our kids start to pick up on our stress around food. That is never worth the gamble.
I also love the 80/20 rule as a mental frame-of-reference.
I use this with my clients to help them set a goal of eating as healthy as possible for 80% of the time, and allowing the other 20% to be whatever is needed for social/emotional health, special occasions, etc. No one can be 100% perfect all the time.
Also - even if the idea of a perfect eating regimen is attainable for some - it's definitely not long-term. It usually leads to a downward spiral of bingeing or other unhealthy behaviours.
Balance is the key.
Tip #5: A Mindful Candy Approach
It's also important to slow the wolfing-down process that usually follows the mountains of available candy piled up in buckets or pillowcases.
Supporting your kids in a more mindful and intuitive approach to food appreciation can help them to tune in to their hunger and fullness cues.
For kids with ADHD, this is a big struggle - and is so important to model for them. Learning to tune into their hunger will also support them in the development of a true understanding of their taste preferences and motivations behind cravings.
We can do this by encouraging our kids to savour and describe the sensations and taste of the candy as they eat it.
This will help them to be mindful of each piece of food they put in their mouths and will help them to consume less in the long run.
Do your best to avoid the label of 'good' and 'junk' or 'bad' foods around Halloween. Or any time.
I encourage my clients to use words like 'fun' or 'play' foods. These foods are meant for enjoyment, not nutrition - and that is absolutely okay. I mean it.
The more we label, restrict or shame foods, the more our kids will covet them, hide them, and then feel shame for consuming them. None of which is healthy for anyone.
One of my favourite mindful eating videos is this one by Cosmic Kids.
Pop it on your phone/ipad and watch it while savouring some of the Halloween treats as a family. So much fun, and a quick and easy strategy for introducing mindful eating practices.
Avoid throwing your kids candy away.
This action just screams a very clear message: "I don't trust you with this."
Believe me, before I became a nutritionist interested in our relationship with food, I was absolutely guilty of the unconvincing statement: “Nope, that's all we have left.”
I have since made a drastic adjustment to my approach.
Now - If it's October 2024 and you still have candy from the year before, you may want to rethink this!
The Halloween season can be a source of so much fun, excitement and anticipation of sweet treats for our kids, but it can also be a challenging time for parents, especially when dealing with mental health concerns, and ADHD.
However, it's important to remember that this time should be filled with joy and not anxiety.
By implementing a few of these strategies and adopting a balanced, mindful approach to candy consumption, you and your family can create a more positive relationship with food for the long-term.
This is not just about navigating Halloween; it's about teaching your kids valuable lessons about food, self-regulation, and enjoyment.
So, I think we're done for now.
Unless I wake up in a cold sweat realizing I forgot something else!
If you didn't grab these recipes last time, download them now:
Healthy Halloween Snack Recipes
As always, I'd love to know what you think.
If you have any questions or would like to share your tips or experiences, please feel free to reach out by making a comment with your ideas.
Curious about holistic nutrition can do for you and your family?
If you’re looking for support with your family’s health goals regarding mental health, ADHD or fostering a healthy relationship with food, feel free to book in a FREE assessment call so we can chat to see if Holistic Nutrition is a good fit for your family!
BA Hons., B Ed., RHN, CNE, OCT
Metabolic Balance® Coach
Intuitive Eating Counsellor Candidate
Care-Informed & Health At Every Size® (HAES®) Nutritionist