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The trick to avoid eating your kids’ Halloween treats

By The Health News Team | November 1, 2023
Halloween pumpkin candy jar

Halloween may be every child’s dream, but the days that follow can be a parent’s nightmare. Candy, in every shape and size, seems to linger for weeks — creating an echo of temptation from your kids’ not-so-secret stash.

“On one hand, parents want to limit their kids’ consumption of candy,” says Holly Moyer, a registered dietitian nutritionist and wellness education specialist for the Sharp Rees-Stealy Center for Health Management. “On the other hand, parents want to limit their own candy consumption. So overall, having that much sugar in the house can be problematic.”

If you tend to dig a little too deep into your kid’s Halloween candy hoard, Moyer offers the following tips to keep temptation at bay:


Consume enough protein and fiber.

Protein and fiber help keep us full. If we are not eating enough of these nutrients, we will often have cravings for sweets and processed foods.

If you have a strong craving for Halloween candy, consider how much protein and fiber you have eaten that day. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein at meals, and 10 to 15 grams when snacking. The USDA recommends women consume 25 grams of fiber daily and men consume 38 grams.

If you suspect you are nowhere near these protein targets, you may want to opt for something different. Consider eating a hard-boiled egg and some berries rather than a chocolate bar.


Sort out the kids’ favorites.

Help your child pick their favorite candy from the total bounty they received. Keep their favorites and consider discarding, or donating, the rest. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind.

You can even freeze their favorites and allow them to have the candy after eating a balanced meal. This should include appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat for optimal blood sugar balance.


Pay attention to portion size.

Candy comes in all shapes and sizes. If you choose to indulge, avoid full-size candy bars, which can lead to overeating. One full-size candy bar can equal three to four servings. Opting for a mini or snack size is a better bet. In general, reducing portion size is key when eating high-calorie desserts.


Be a last-minute buyer.

Avoid buying candy or sweets in the weeks leading up to Halloween, as you are more likely to indulge in them. Try to buy candy closer to Oct. 31 and only buy what you think you will need. The same rule applies for other holidays or celebrations to help eliminate sweet tooth triggers around the house.


Time candy consumption around physical activity.

Carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of fuel for exercising. A small piece of candy — a chocolate “mini” or a few fruit chews — can be a carb-rich snack that digests easily when eaten within 30 minutes of a workout. Keep in mind that the workout should be a resistance, weight or high-intensity training workout as opposed to an easy walk around the block.

Consuming a small, high-sugar food before a workout helps the body metabolize it for fuel and energy. Consuming high-sugar foods without exercise can cause a drastic blood sugar spike and ultimately lead to a “crash.”


Plan ahead.

If you feel a sugar craving coming on, think about how candy will make you feel later in the day. Take a second and reflect on whether you have better options at hand.

Consider stocking your kitchen with healthy snacks, such as vegetables and hummus, cottage cheese and fruit, protein shakes, or small slices of cheese and some grapes, so you are less tempted to eat candy as a fuel source.

Learn more about nutrition; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News.

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