5 ways to keep the sugar at bay

This time of year can be a tricky time for parents who are health-conscious and who try to monitor the amount of sugar their kids take in. I’m one of those parents. While I want my kids to be able to participate in all of the goodies that come along with everything from our church’s Fall Harvest Festival to Christmas , I don’t want them to be bouncing off the walls this fall and winter season due to a sugar high.

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But trying to manage this can be hard, especially when you have kids who can reach top shelves or have learned the joys of sneaking candy during bed time, only to be discovered when you come into their rooms and find trails of fall and holiday-themed candy wrappers under the bed.

So how do you approach this festive American holiday season in a way that allows the kids to have their candy and eat it too, within reason, of course?

Here are 5 practical tips:

  • Prioritize meals over candy – I’ve seen it too many times. You want to be festive and put out candy dishes for guests throughout the season but sometimes the kids get home from school and head straight for the candy. Don’t let this happen. Let them know that there will be no candy until dinner is had and the veggies are eaten. And while we’re on the subject of school…

  • Check their backpacks for candy, going out and coming in – Also something I’ve witnessed time and time again; kids will get clever and sneak treats into their backpacks, which leads to eating candy on the bus, in class, and it may even serve as their lunch. Maybe allow them only 1 to 2 pieces for school, if any at all. When it comes to receiving candy from their friends and/or teachers while in school however, all you can do is instruct and trust. And if you think it will help, let them know that you can tell whether or not they’ve been munching on candy during school by the way they’re pushing their asparagus around on their plate.

  • Lead by example – Don’t tell your children they can’t have candy while you’re dipping your own hand in the candy dish. Be a role model.


  • Serve them a healthy meal prior to attending an event – I’m sure you’ve experienced going to the grocery store on an empty stomach? I don’t know about you but when I do that, I spend way more money than I planned because I’m hungry and I want everything I see. I can only imagine that the same thing applies to the kids and their appetites. Before taking them out to collect all the goodies at our Fall Harvest Festival at church for example, I like to feed my kids a healthy, delicious meal. This of course, decreases their appetites and their desire to throw back multiple pieces of candy.

  • Give alternatives to candy – Another way to lead by example, skip putting out candy in your household and offer alternatives for guests and your family. Individually wrapped healthy snacks like nuts, trail mixes, and dried fruit are great options!

In addition to monitoring the candy intake on Halloween night, don’t forget to have fun and make it an enjoyable experience for the kids and for yourself.  And hey, don’t forget to sneak in a couple of treats for yourself!

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