Posted by: molander | October 25, 2009

Healthier Halloween?

Charlie, Maggie and Thomas with this years creations

Charlie, Maggie and Thomas with this year's creations

Can you use “healthy” and “Halloween” in the same sentence? The season is here, we can’t avoid it but here are a few tricks (pun intended) to keep it from sabotaging a perfectly good body or adding to the problems of an overtaxed, out-of-shape body. Note: Separate kid and adult tips!

Kids Tricks (aka Parental Bargaining)

This cracked me up when I first heard about it but there’s some serious merit here! The concept is to offer them a trade for their treats. Sure, let ’em have some candy but they certainly don’t need to keep the entire booty collected! (There’s a booty joke here somewhere.)

1. The Switch Witch

xxxx After Trick-or-Treating, have your kids make a pile of candy for the Switch Witch. According to the article I read on Families.com, the Switch Witch “is a cross between the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. The “switch witch” visits during the middle of the night, takes the Halloween candy and replaces it with a toy. The more Halloween candy the kids leave out for the “switch witch” the bigger the toy they get in exchange.”

This really cracks me up but I think it’s an excellent idea! Especially in our case where artificial colors and flavors are like speed to my poor ADHD boy. I don’t want him to miss out on the age-old American tradition and yet now that I know as much as I do about all this stuff, I can’t (in good conscience) let him pump himself with it everyday until it’s gone. [sigh] We may have to implement some version of the Switch Witch.

2. Cold Hard Cash.
xxxx This hits home. All three of my kids are driven by cash. Why I didn’t think of this myself when Tyler and Maggie were trick-or-treating is beyond me! In that same article, a family trades pieces of candy for coins (and favorite candies cost more than those with an average rating). They can “sell” as much as they want or choose to keep it. I think it would probably be beneficial to drop the idea of purchasing a particular video or toy you know they’d want.

I’d take this one step further. (Sorry… the teacher in me is getting all up in this.) We’re always looking for ways to teach the value of a dollar and this could totally turn into an economics lesson. Begin with a list of prize options and let the trick-or-treater decide for himself how much he’s willing to trade. This this be his first taste (pun intended) of raw capitalism! This has possibilities. Needs refining but definite possibilities.

So, what do you do with all this candy they trade you? No… you don’t eat it. Get it into the freezer ASAP! You know there will be charities asking for candy donations for stocking stuffers at Christmas. (Just be sure there are no eyeball gumballs or other Halloween specific treats in there.) Or check the list below for other ways to avoid setting off constant insulin surges throughout your poor body.

Adults

Yikes!

Yikes!

1. If the only way you’ll have candy entering your home is if you buy it for trick-or-treat, purchase only candy you don’t like.  You’ll be less likely to go on a binge with stuff that doesn’t appeal to you.

2. Select a reasonable amount of left-over candy to keep at home and send the rest to the office.  If you will be tempted by it at your office, send it in with your spouse, neighbor, or friend.

3.  Freeze it (as mentioned above). Most candy freezes well. It’s better to re-purpose it later but even if you don’t, once it is out of sight you may forget about it and by the time you rediscover it, it might be time to throw it out. (Ouch. I hate waste.)

4.  If you’re not likely to binge on candy (like I am), you may want to plan for and allow yourself 1 small piece of candy occasionally. Aim for a specific number of calories you can have and let that be your treat. Eat only candy that you really enjoy and when you do eat it do nothing but enjoy eating it. Sit down, savor it and eat it mindfully; pay attention to how it smells, looks, tastes, and feels in your mouth.  Be prepared to add in more exercise or cut out other treats so you don’t end up taking in more calories than you burn.

5. Decide whether you would rather “waste the candy” or “waist the candy”.  The temporary comfort and sweet taste of the candy will be long gone when you are still trying to shed the extra pounds.

6. Keep the candy out of sight and out of the kitchen.  Store it in a hard to reach place such as the back of a closet or in the basement where maybe, just maybe, you will forget about it.  This can eliminate mindless munching as you will have to make a special trip to get it.

Need a reminder about what insulin does? Read my post Introducing: Insulin.

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