Ten Tips for Enjoying Halloween Candy Without Guilt or Consequences

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Candy Corn, The Quintessential Halloween Treat
Candy Corn, The Quintessential Halloween Treat

Now that you have all that Halloween candy, what is a healthy way to handle it, especially for your children? You don't need to think of candy as "bad." Studies over the years have found there is no association between candy eating and poor health or weight gain. But eating candy in moderation helps.

There are a few simple strategies designed by behavioral scientists and nutritionists to help your children (or you) enjoy candy without guilt or even weight gain. Remember:

1. Moderation is more realistic than complete elimination,

2. Eat about 10% of your daily calorie needs as candy and you can still maintain a healthy body and weight (most women consume about 1800 calories/day, so their candy allottment might be 180 calories daily. For men, perhaps about 220 calories),

3. When candy is in the house, it's fair game for everyone. Denying access to candy your child knows is in the house (and they always know!)  is counterproductive and can eventually lead to bingeing when it becomes available, 

4. Remove the emphasis on restriction. If you don't want someone in your house eating candy, don't have it in the house. This changes the emphasis from what you "can't" have, to what you "can" have,

5. Structure your family's eating. Eat regularly scheduled meals at predictable times through the day,

6. Provide reasonable guildelines for eating the candy that is in the house, and practice what you preach,

7. If you'd like your child to eat candy moderately, limit how often it is brought into the home and serve small portions, or use pre-packaged candy in small amounts,

8. Serve all food positively. Fruits, vegetables and other wholesome foods should be presented just as positively as candy,

9. Don't use candy as a reward of any kind,

10. Above all else, provide a consistently positive atmosphere in which all food is eaten. There is no "good" or "bad" food. All food fits, but you may need to define the balance, amounts, and timing that candy or any food is eaten in the household.