Halloween is here, so you know what that means — it’s time for you and your kids to pick a last-minute costume (if you haven’t already!) and for you to stock up on Halloween candy.
However, after your children have made it around the neighbourhood and come home with their bag of loot, many parents wonder how much candy their kids should be eating.
Before you let your costumed kiddos dive into their sugary bounty, consider some helpful strategies to prevent them from turning into candy monsters.
In an interview with Yahoo Canada, dietitian Abbey Sharp speaks about managing children’s candy intake and shares techniques for keeping the holiday fun and relaxing.
“While I know a lot of parents get totally freaked out about their kids binging on sugar and eating all their Halloween candy in one night, I actually think we should think of it as a learning opportunity to help our kids work on their intuitive eating skills,” Sharp says.
Should Parents Kimit Kids’ Halloween Candy? Why are Parents Worried About Their Children’s Sugar Intake?
According to Sharp, many parents worry that their kids will be unable to contain themselves around their candy, leading to sugar highs and hyperactive behaviour.
“Most parents are worried that kids won’t be able to control themselves around candy, and will gorge themselves for weeks after Halloween and never eat another vegetable again,” Sharp explains.
“But research suggests that the more novel or forbidden we make foods like candy, the more likely kids are to overeat them,” she adds.
“Research suggests that the more novel or forbidden we make foods like candy, the more likely kids are to overeat them.”
Additionally, the mother-of-two believes that parents should use Halloween as a “teaching tool” to become aware of how food makes their kids feel. “Halloween can be a really important teaching tool to help our kids understand how food impacts them…while I think most parents restrict our children’s access to Halloween candy, this often can backfire and contribute to a life-long obsession with sweets,” Sharp adds in a YouTube video about the topic.
How Much Candy Should Your Kids Eat On Halloween: Should Parents Manage Their Children’s Sugar Intake?
Simply put, Sharp doesn’t believe parents should manage their children’s sugar intake. That said, she does recommend a protocol that parents use during Halloween.
“On Halloween night, feed them a balanced dinner with lots of satiating fibre, protein and fats. Once they bring home their loot, let them eat as much as they want that night,” Sharp says. “If they complain of a tummy ache, use that as a teachable moment.”
After Halloween is over, the dietitian suggests spreading out how often and when children have access to their candy.
“The day or two after Halloween, choose a snack time and allow them to choose whatever they want from their bag without limiting quantity. This reminds them that candy isn’t that special after all, so it robs it of its allure,” she explains.
After a few days of this habituation, Sharp says that most kids will lose their interest in eating large quantities of candy.
Chicago’s Favorite Halloween Candy
A recent study of favorite candy by state declared Illinois a Sour Patch Kids zone.
And for once, a statewide generalization may be on to something. Both Monica and Justin do harbor a soft — and sour — spot for the chewy treats.
But what are our all-time favorite Chicago Halloween candies?
Monica’s pick: When I was a kid and the little old ladies (heck, I’m probably their age now) at church held out a handful of Brach’s candies, I always chose the Sundae Neapolitan Coconut — pure chewy, creamy and coconutty deliciousness.
Justin’s pick: I love staying local!
Heath Bars were not only manufactured in downstate Robinson but were also invented there!
Another local go-to has to be Lemonheads. The sign for Ferrara Pan still hovers over 290 off Harlem Avenue.
Here’s the candy our readers keep for themselves when sorting out their kids’ bounty:
Mary Lynn N.: “My Halloween favorite was the full-size six piece Bit-O-Honey bar that seemed reserved for trick-or-treating.”
“Honey flavored taffy with almond bits to chew or suck. Yum.”
Ken B.: “Since you mentioned local companies, the Willy Wonka Brands company located in Itasca made Nerds, Gobstoppers, Runts, Wacky Wafers, and Tart & Tiny candy.”
Colleen M.: “Remember those black and orange wrapped peanut butter taffies? Yummmmmmo.”
Leah N.: “I like candy corn but lately I’ve moved on to the pumpkins that are similar. They’re the best.”
Michael M.: “The Snickers bar. I’m handing out the full size bars this year.”
Paul M.: “Best Halloween candy is by far the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I’ve polled my classes over the years and by far it’s the most popular.”
Liz S.: “Hershey bars and Milky Ways are our favorite here!”
Mike C.: “Twix is my favorite. Also enjoy Pay Day, Peanut M&Ms, and Reese’s cups (or pumpkins).”
Dorothy V.: “For me, nothing beats the dark chocolate/coconut/almond combo of the Almond Joy.”