Imagine…A Healthy Halloween

Halloween can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Just picture those sugar-infused little bodies that ultimately crash at the end of a late night in the form of one doozy of a tantrum. Now that’s a scary Halloween.

How are you going to deal with your little gremlin this October 31st?

Here are my top six tips for parents to survive Halloween, avoiding the extreme sugar highs and lows:

* Plan a pre-holiday family meeting – Parents, meet with your kids before Halloween trick-or-treating or parties and work together to come up with a plan for how much candy they can have. Make them a part of the decision making process so they feel they have some say.

* For better or for worse – What’s better, what’s worse? Look out for food dyes and colours as some kids react; allergies, behavioural issues or difficulty sleeping. If chocolate is their favourite, have some healthier choices (organic or dark choc) on hand and make a trade for the ‘junk’ ones. Talk about why you are trading, using this as a great learning opportunity for all (and don’t forget to mention that in your family meeting).

* Post-holiday crash – Ever notice an increase in colds, flu or tummy aches post sugar rush? Sugar can depress the immune system for hours so boost the immune system with some probiotics for a week or so before and give some extra vitamin C (powders work well – mix in water or dilute juice) to try to dodge the sickness that’s likely to follow October 31st. Also if you notice digestive upsets, headaches and eczema flare-ups, the sugar intake can be the cause.

* Balanced dinner before – Help keep those blood sugar levels from peaking and crashing with a pre-trick-or-treating meal, which is a balance of carbs, veggies and protein. Take a water bottle with you en route with diluted juice, or thermos with herbal tea as it’s usually chilly.

* Do YOUR part – Ever thought about starting a new trend? It’s easier with the younger ones. Start a new tradition of giving out small toys to your trick or treaters. Talk about giving out healthier choices and alternatives. My faves include:

Recycled Crayon Stars – pack of 20. Hand out one to each kid (maybe the younger ones.

– Glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets – a visit to the dollar store got a whole lot healthier!

– Stickers or temporary tattoos.

– Candies and other treats made with alternative sweeteners. Whole Foods Market has a fantastic assortment of lollipops and individually wrapped treats that won’t have your dentist running for cover.

– Candies or treats made with natural food colourings including beet, carrot and others.

* Trade up the Loot – is there something that your little princess or Spiderman has been coveting? Suggest a trade of their bag of loot (after some nibbling of course) for a longer lasting treat, or have the “Halloween Pumpkin” (cousin of the tooth fairy) come a day after Halloween and leave that special something in its place.

Now if I could only find somewhere to donate the treats to after my daughters forget about it (out of sight out of mind after a few days), I’d be happier.

If you know of a charity that would welcome some treats, or have a great suggestion of what to do with it all, please share!

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