Really Scary Post-Halloween Thoughts

November 3, 2009 in Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

Are you struggling with what to do with the Halloween candy?

Dr. Grandpa and I no longer have guilt about our practice on no longer passing out candy. I know the kids love it, but they seem to really enjoy the little items we get from Oriental Trading Company.  In all honesty, it took a few years for us to stop bringing Halloween candy into our home – no kids live here now, but it was a decades-old tradition. We still enjoy a small square of special chocolate many nights of the week, but we no longer bring in the bags of chocolate and other Halloween candies.

Are you stuck with sacks full of candy – candy you don’t really want to eat or have the kids fill their growing bodies with (so much fat, sugar and calories)?

One place to start is to begin to be a good role model.  Do this by only having 100 to 200 calories per day of sweets (empty calories that are not nourishing your body).. If the candy is eaten after a meal or part of a healthful snack, then maybe a much smaller volume will seem more satisfying.

There is some evidence that having overly restrictive rules regarding candy and other desserts can backfire – making those foods seem even more desirable. Can you do anything? It’s surprising that children who are involved in conversations designing a rational approach to the amount and frequency of candy consumption can make truly great decisions. Kids can understand benefits of being strong, fit, and healthy. Too much candy can be one part of compromised immune systems.

This is a really scary, post-Halloween thought. Pick some of the candy to hold onto, to eat at planned snack and meal times; and get rid of all that you don’t want to have in the house.  If you can’t bring yourself to put it into the trash, consider giving to a group home, a feeding facility, or a food bank.

I grew up with the ‘poor starving children in China syndrome’ and was persuaded to eat some unwanted food based upon that argument. My really smart children, did not fall for ‘poor starving children in Ethiopia.’  They said, ‘Send it to them. How is my eating the food helping them?’ My  a grandmother raised five children during the Great Depression, and later raised me.  She taught me a healthy abhorrence of wasting food.  Despite this upbringing, I’ve developed another thought. My thought (and I’ve used it in the past with some of my weight-loss patients) is this:  If you consume food that you don’t need, (rather than give it away or throw it away), do you waste something even more precious?  Do you waste years of your life or years of enjoying a higher quality of life?  Certainly, each person must answer this question for himself or herself.  My answer is this:  I know if I eat more than I need, I will gain unwanted pounds and risk an unhealthy body and unhealthy lifestyle.

However scary, try to have a plan that includes: ‘how much’ and ‘when’.  It’s hard to believe, but you may begin to look at someone else’s candy dish and realize that your mind has re-defined how it tastes. Your mind may eventually say, “I don’t really like the burningly sweet taste any more – I’ll just skip having that.” It’s hard to believe, but it really can happen.  Scary Huh?

It's scary, but unneeded candy can be trashed!

It's scary, but unneeded candy can be trashed!