Happy Halloween! Cue up the Mandy Moore, because I am talking CANDY! We all remember that one house when we were little. No, not the one that passed out the king size candy bars (bless you…by the way). The other house, the house who, on Halloween, passed out the most tragic of “treats”. RAISINS. TOOTHBRUSHES. OR, EVEN WORSE, TERRIBLE GAMES. I mean, what the hell healthy neighbor?! As a dietitian, people assume I am “that guy” on Halloween too. Um. No. No raisins or toothbrushes here!
How do we expect our children to have a healthy relationship with food if we never give them treats? How do we teach them how to incorporate treats into their diet? By not giving them “bad” treats, we have planted an unhealthy seed that could grow into an unhealthy relationship with food. We have to teach kids how to eat healthy and how to have treats. And that is exactly what they are! TREATS. They are not meal replacement bars or snack bars. They are TREATS to be enjoyed on special occasions.
I was lucky to have a mom who provided REAL treats (her introduction to Reese’s pumpkin treats changed my life). My mom was always in the kitchen and always had a healthy meal on the table. (Albeit sometimes the sides were less than stellar. I’m looking at you frozen Brussel sprouts. Gosh, that took me years to get over.) I was also thankful to have a dad who invited me to join him on runs and workouts. I’m thankful I had the most amazing, consistent mentor throughout my entire childhood, Kitty Carter (please tell me you are watching CMT’s Making the Team), who taught me confidence and body awareness/respect. I was one of the lucky ones.
Shout out to the National Confectioners Association. These guys are leading the way for smaller package sizes. Additionally, by 2022, half of all individually wrapped chocolate and candy will be 200 calories or less. HUGE. For real, nothing is wrong with an occasional treat. Honestly, I am more worried about daily sugar intake from commonly consumed kids foods like pop tarts and cereals with marshmallows. #justsaying #AlwaysATreat
So this Halloween, talk to your kids about candy and how it can be enjoyed as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Be informed, be active, and enjoy life!
Now excuse me, there is Reese’s pumpkin with my name on it,