- Consumers spend over $2 billion dollars each year on Halloween candy, according to the National Confectioners Association.
- The average child collects between 3500 calories and 7000 calories worth of candy on Halloween according to Dr. Donna Arnett, chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health.
- 90% of parents sneak candy from their kids’ trick-or-treating stash.
- Americans consume 24.7 pounds of candy each year.
In light of those frightening facts, here are some tips for you, followed by some tips for those of you who have children…
- Wait until the night before or the night of Halloween to purchase candy. The less time the candy is sitting around the house, the less likely you are to eat it.
- Stick to fun size or miniature candy bars. If you start eating multiples, leave the wrappers in front of you to remind you how much you’ve eaten and hopefully encourage you to not overindulge. Avoid stocking up on full size bars - let’s be realistic, if you open up a big one, you’re probably going to eat the whole thing.
- Better yet, buy a type of candy to pass out that you don’t like!
- Keep candy where you can’t see it, and preferably where you can’t easily reach it. A high cabinet that requires a stepstool is perfect.
- Practice moderation. An occasional fun size treat won’t break the calorie bank, but one or two fun size treats everyday can lead to a pound or two of weight gain in a month’s time span.
- Freeze leftover candy. You’re more likely to let a craving pass if you know it’s going to take time for your treat to defrost. You can also use the frozen candy later in December to decorate gingerbread houses.
- After Halloween, avoid the discounted candy. It might be cheap, but is the discount worth weight gain and detrimental impacts on your health?
- Keep the house stocked with ready-to-eat healthy snacks, like pieces of fruit, string cheese, or portion controlled servings of nuts. If you don’t have the healthy choices readily available, you’re more likely to reach for the unhealthy candy.
Tips for the kiddos…
- After your child goes trick-or-treating, have them sort their stash into two piles – favorites and not-so-favorites. Allow them to choose 1 small piece from the favorites pile each day or two, and toss or donate the other pile. Don’t let candy be a substitute for normal, nutritious snacks and meals.
- Keep the remaining candy somewhere out of sight – you might be surprised that some children forget about the remaining candy after a few days.
- Consider trading in the candy at a “buy-back” event. Participating dentists will “buy” children’s candy in exchange for cash, prizes, or coupons for goods at local businesses. The dentists then donate the candy to Operation Gratitude to support U.S troops.
- Or be the “Halloween Fairy!” After your kids choose 5 or 10 candies they want to keep, have them put the rest in a bag on their door handle when they go to sleep. At night, exchange the candy for a small gift.
- Don’t use the candy as punishment or reward – i.e. “if you clean your room, you can have more Halloween candy.” This sets up negative relationships with food and overrides a child’s natural signs for regulating hunger and satiety.
Share with us: How will you stay healthy this Halloween?