It’s that time of year again… the weather is getting colder, we’re going outside less and eating more.
These are the lessons we have learned from our parents and it’s the ones we’re now teaching our kids.
From the start of fall and through the winter we have holidays, where we get together to celebrate with our family and friends… these celebrations are often centered around food… a lot of us consume too much and feel guilty for weeks afterwards until we find ourselves repeating the same patterns at the next family get together.
Halloween follows this pattern, except its centered around our kids… although we know you’re sneaking in your candy treats as well 😉
During this celebration we are teaching our kids that it’s ok to binge on candy… now, not only for a night… but, for weeks at a time.
Most kids get so much candy… and I remember stashing and saving mine… that some can make it last until Christmas! That’s a steady sugar-filled diet and will make them expect a sugary reward, even once the candy is gone.
is there any harm in having a little candy?
New research continues to come out about the dangers of eating too much processed sugar. Our brains are wired with sugar playing a huge biological reward… so when it’s nearby we tend to indulge… and overindulge at that.
It’s also contained in many processed foods… so, unless you’re following a strict Eat By Design diet and avoiding most processed food, you’re probably consuming a lot more than you think.
Because sugar is wired into our brains as a reward, it can create addictive patterns, with research showing it’s even more addictive than cocaine or heroin.
When we think about our kids again, what are we teaching them? It’s ok to indulge once in a while?
If that’s not the case, excess sugar is going to mean excess stress.
We also have to keep in mind, kid’s brains are still developing… they don’t have the power to process and have the capacity for rational thinking like adults… they don’t assess risk and reward in the same way.
The point is it’s much easier for a child to become addicted to sugar… and it’s likely they already are.
Right now, childhood obesity levels on the rise, outdoor activity on the decline (especially in the winter months), and the busy-ness of modern life are all taking a toll on your child’s immune system.
Add a toxic load of sugar to the mix and your child’s health could really be in decline this season.
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Now, we’re not saying that we don’t enjoy Halloween… there’s many aspects of the holiday that are fun and should be enjoyed.
We’re not just trying to be buzz kills about the entire holiday… just about excess sugar.
It’s still fun to carve pumpkins, decorate your yard/balcony, tell scary stories between friends, and of course, expressing your creativity through dressing up. We love all that stuff!
Participating in the fun of going house to house with your entire community and collecting candy is also fun… but do we have to give out and collect only candy?
alternatives… but still having fun
We have separated alternatives you can do for your own kids, to help protect their health… and have suggestions for what you can hand out to your neighbours instead of candy.
For your kids:
- Donate your candy… Either take your kids to a dentist or chiropractor who’s participating in a Halloween buy-back program, where they buy back your candy and donate that money to a charity.
- You can also host your own buy back with your child. Much like the tooth-fairy, you can have the Halloween Ghoul, who picks up your pumpkin full of candy and switches it out for a toy, movie tickets, or something else on your child’s wish list.
- Host a Halloween get together with your friend’s kids, make healthy snacks and play some Halloween themed games. Follow the Eat By Design Coaches on Pinterest for some more great ideas!
- If they do choose to keep some of their candy, when they inevitably eat too much and feel sick, remind them that what we put in our body matters and this is why we usually avoid these types of food. This food won’t make you skate faster or do math easier… Eating By Design will!
Alternatives to handing out candy:
- Glow sticks
- Cookie cutters
- Small erasers
- Mini Larabars
- Snack packs of Craisins, raisins or other dried fruit
- Mini Play-Doh
- Fake tattoos
- Halloween themed plastic jewelry
- Dark chocolate mini-bars (a lot less sugar and something I would still give to my family)
We want you to make the best decisions for your kids… and those are the decisions that fit in with your values. But, we want to also start the conversation and get you thinking about why we do some of the “normal things” and if there could be better ways we can go about raising our kids.
Have fun and be safe.
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