Halloween. It's here.
And as you know, kids want to go out with their buckets and fill them to the brim with sweets and candy. But you have that internal dilemma of wanting them to "be healthy" and "eat healthy".
Now, a healthy diet is not just about what you eat, but also about how it makes you feel.
And guess what - a healthy diet is also not determined by 1 day of the year. (I know, you are going to ask about Xmas and Easter next but hold on! That's still only 3 days so c h i l l o u t)
Balance is achieved by working on your basics ALL YEAR ROUND. And that means the best way to go about tackling Halloween (and any other food centric 'festival') is to consider the following not only with kids but for yourself:
1. Never demonise a food. Hard on this day I know with all the ghastly ghouls around but you know what I mean. There are no inherently "bad" or "good" foods. And it's not healthy to relate to foods as good or bad, especially around kids.
2. Balance out the foods available and don't keep them as "treats". Food should not be associated with a reward system. They are just food.
3. Make vegetables a priority in the diet at all times. And have a fruit bowl visible and easy to access at all times. This encourages children to make better choices (and yourself) when they feel like they want something sweet.
4. Allow your kids access to sweets. You'll find that they actually don't go crazy for them when they know they can have them when they want. It will help them to trust their natural instincts for food as they grow up and helps to reinforce point number 1.
5. Eat as you want your kids to eat. Let them see that no foods are off limits and that they are free to choose what to eat. I have so many clients who are parents who do very well in making their kids eat veggies but they don't do it themselves. Show a good example to your kids as they are little sponges and they just want to be like you.
6. Remember that restriction causes problems like secret eating and binge eating but balance helps support control over food choice. So let the kids collect all the candy tonight then talk to them about how they feel when they eat different foods and allow them to understand that it's OK to put the sweets away for the day and have the rest spread through the week... or months....
My daughter gets a massive haul of candy in her bucket but you know what - she still has some of it from last year. (yep!) Because.... all of the above. She's not interested. What she likes is having the choice, and taking part in the weird trick or treating ritual.
So stop worrying about what the kids are doing on one day and go have fun people.