We are entering the season of treats. Sugar, indulgence, meltdowns, and weight gain. You may not battle with sweets in your home, but for us it’s a thing. Last year our son knew what candy was but wasn’t savvy enough to realize when we took it away. This year, he’ll know. He’s been asking for Halloween ever since he heard about this whole trick-or-treating deal. And this is just the beginning of restricting our diet for the next few months. So what can we do to help set limits or put boundaries on “special treats”? Here are a few ideas:

For Halloween:

  1. Candy Buy Back. Many dentists and at least one local grocery store will buy or trade in candy. To find a dentist near you, just enter your zip code at Halloween Candy Buy Back. Earth Fare Ballantyne and other area Earth Fares area also doing an exchange.
  2. The Switch Witch. Allow your kids to pick out just a few (5-10) pieces to keep. Then, have them leave the rest either on the front porch or maybe the dining room table. While they sleep, the Switch Witch (parents in disguise) comes in and exchanges their candy for a special toy or game that they’ve been asking for.


For Candy and Sweet Consumption Limits in General:

  1. Non-Candy Treats (list adapted from Green Halloween). Our son would do just about anything for a piece of candy so I’m not going to lie, I’ve used it as motivation. And I regret it because sugar seems to affect his mood and his behavior, and really isn’t necessary. There are better options. Candy should be one of those things that’s truly a treat; special occasions only. Instead of using candy as a treat, we replace it with these “special treats”.
    1. Organic juice boxes or fruit pouches
    2. Real fruit strips (Trader Joes has a great selection)
    3. Real fruit gummies (Plum Kids, Annie’s, or make them yourself)
    4. Larabars (these are GOBO at Earth Fare this week)
    5. Honey sticks (the farmer’s market at ElonPark carries these)
    6. Jammy Sammy bars and Yo Drops
    7. Honey roasted nuts
    8. Granola bars (Nature’s Path, Annie’s, Cascadian Farms)
    9. Homemade baked goods like banana or pumpkin bread
    10. Popsicles using real fruit juice or milk
    11. A Few More Good Treat Recipes
  2. Healthier Candies. You can try natural gum and candies made by these organic candy vendors. Glee Gum. Surf Sweets, Endangered Species, Yummy Earth, Equal Exchange, etc. Check out the candy sections at Earth Fare and Whole Foods for some great options.
  3. Set Limits. Check out the AHA guidelines. Based on this information, determine how much sugar you feel comfortable allowing your child to have in a day and then let them know. This is important to do for ourselves as well. Try to be realistic about your intake and model this for your kids.

I know that this time of year can be really hard. Today we went to a birthday party followed by a Halloween gathering and my son was hopped up on sugar. If healthy eating is important to you, do the best you can and then start fresh the next day. Happy Halloween!!


100 Days of Real Food Halloween Tips

Controlling the Halloween Candy Chaos

Green Halloween