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Balancing Scares and Sweets: A Dietitian's Halloween Wisdom

Written by Halah Alareeki for Nest Integrative Wellness

Welcome, dear readers, to a spooktacular journey into a healthier Halloween!

As the ghouls and goblins come out to play, it’s easy to get entangled in the web of sugary treats and festive feasts that this bewitching holiday often brings. But fear not, for I am your friendly neighborhood dietitian, here to guide you through the haunted maze of Halloween indulgences with a flashlight of nutritious wisdom. In this eerie but enlightening blog, we will unearth the secrets to enjoy the season’s tricks and treats without haunting your health. So, grab your broomsticks and join me as we discover the magic potions for a guilt-free, yet delightfully delicious Halloween celebration through these 5 quick tips!

1. Safety First

Ensure allergies and intolerances and physical safety of candy bags are first considered. Delay sweets for children under two years old that’s because added sugar coming from candies and chocolates can take up space from a child’s room for more nutritious foods especially during a time of rapid growth and development. Candy can also be a choking hazard. Delaying sweets for young toddlers allows for exploring of other flavours and foods, helping their relationship with food.

2. Let's Be Okay with Eating the Candy

For children over two years old, going trick or treating means candy will be eaten. If the amount of candy received is a concern for you as the parent, as part of the division of responsibility of feeding, you may choose to limit the amount of candy coming back home. This can be done by sending your child with a smaller bucket or setting a certain time for trick or treating. Some children may enjoy trading the rest of their candy  for a small toy, a homemade dessert or a trip to the movies as some alternatives.

3. Find an Enjoyable Balance

Halloween is a one-day event. Children older than four can enjoy all the candy that they love on the day of and understand what overindulging feels like to them. For the rest of the week, you can add a piece of candy or chocolate along with your child’s balanced lunches or snacks while keeping the rest of the candy out of sight for another time (this goes for all children over 2 years old).

4. Build Memories Away from Fears

Children usually look forward to holidays and celebrations for many reasons including sweets and desserts. Have your child build memories around food enjoyment during this time. Try to avoid negatively labeling candy, chocolates and chips as “bad, poisonous or junk food.” We still want to preserve a positive relationship with food without guilt.

5. Focus on the bigger picture

Looking at the overall nutrition of a child is more meaningful than just one or a few days out of the year. An overall healthy diet can definitely be worked on during the rest of the year so children can have a good understanding of what nutrient balance for health, growth and energy looks like as well as what enjoying pleasurable foods in moderation can look like.

Remember, Halloween is about fun, creativity, and community. As a dietitian, my aim has been to provide you with practical tips to enjoy the treats while still prioritizing your health. Embrace the joy of the season, savour your favourite treats in moderation, and focus on the memories you create with your loved ones. Your family’s situation is unique and as the parent, you know best on which advice out there may be the most ghoul-den for you and your kids.  Speak with our dietitian Halah for additional nutrition support and guidance. For ease, you can book appointments on our online booking system – Halah provides support in-person and virtually!

Wishing you all a spooktacular and health-conscious Halloween! 🎃👻🍬