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Nutrition: Happy Halloween — in moderation
Halloween is one of my favourite holidays, bringing back fond childhood memories of freedom.
As pack of neighbourhood kids, we would run door to door and pant a breathless “Trick or treat!”, waiting to see what would be put into our pillowcases.
This tradition has changed very little; however, many things have changed.
The costumes now on display in most retail stores are amazing.
Gone are the days of the white sheet ghost, here to stay are action figures, princesses and zombies.
As a nutritionist, I am always asked what we “do” with all of the Halloween candy.
I often recommend everything in moderation.
There is no one right approach to Halloween and every family needs to decide what works best for them.
When pressed for more information, I usually talk about the expert Ellyn Satter and her views on feeding children.
Satter is a U.S. dietitian who works with children and parents on building a healthy feeding relationship.
Her bottom line on improving meal times is setting up the division of responsibility.
This division states that parents are responsible for what food is served and when it is served.
The child is responsible for deciding what is eaten, how much is eaten or if anything is eaten at all.
For more information visit her website at ellynsatterinstitute.org.
Through this relationship, children learn to recognize and respect their own hunger and fullness cues.
Self-regulation is so important for our children, especially around eating.
Satter published an article about Halloween:
“Halloween candy presents a learning opportunity. Work toward having your child be able to manage his own stash.
“For him to learn, you will have to keep your interference to a minimum.
“When he comes home from trick or treating, let him lay out his booty, gloat over it, sort it and eat as much of it as he wants.
“Let him do the same the next day.
“Then have him put it away and relegate it to meal and snack time — a couple of small pieces at meals for dessert and as much as he wants for snack time.
“If he can follow the rules, your child gets to keep control of the stash.
“Otherwise, you do, on the assumption that as soon as he can manage it, he gets to keep it. Offer milk with the candy, and you have a chance at good nutrition.’’
But, most importantly, make sure your children know they must have you check the treats for safety before they eat them.
Only keep the treats if they are in their original wrappers.
If you are looking for trick or treat alternatives for the children coming to your door, some items could include stickers or temporary tattoos, coloured chalk, rubber spiders, pencils, erasers or pencil toppers, bubbles and wands.
At the end of the day, it is about family and spending time together, so, most of all, be safe and have fun!
Peel mandarin oranges, place sliced celery in the middle for a stem.
Peel banana (cut in half)
Dip in lemon juice to keep from browning.
Use two tiny chocolate chips for the eyes and one larger chocolate chip for the mouth.
For more calcium:
Dip banana in yogurt.
Place chocolate chips/raisons and freeze.
Alexis Blueschke is a registered dietician with the Interior Health Authority.