Tag Archives: candy

How to limit your child’s Halloween candy consumption

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It’s that time of year again.  Halloween!  I enjoy Halloween as much as the next person, but from a health standpoint this holiday is a nightmare!

Parents often say to me,”It’s just once a year. It won’t hurt them.”  While this is true, the candy that children accumulate during Halloween can last months.  I know when I was a child I used to come home with pillow cases full of candy.  Everything from Snickers to Smarties and everything in between!  Months of eating candy is not good for a child.

Today, I am going to give you some helpful hints on how you can control your child’s candy intake at Halloween.

First and foremost, remember that your child likes Halloween because they get to dress up and go from door to door in the neighborhood with their friends.  It really isn’t about the candy.  Yes, the candy is a bonus and they will enjoy the candy given the chance, but ask them whether they’d rather get candy or dress up and trick or treat? All of them will choose trick or treating over simply getting candy.

Secondly, be in control of the candy.  When your child returns from trick or treating they will want to dump out their candy and see what they got.  This is totally ok.  When they go to put it away ask them to select a couple of pieces that they’d like to keep in an easily accessible spot like the refrigerator.  All the other candy goes somewhere that is not easily accessible to them like on top of the refrigerator or a cabinet above the sink.  If they have an inordinately large amount of candy, throw small handfuls away from time to time.  It’s a little white lie, but it’s better than letting your children eat too much candy.  If you feel uncomfortable with this, tell your children the Candy Witch gets half of all kid’s candy at Halloween and ask them to donate it.  They usually don’t want to make the “Candy Witch” mad.

If you have children that are older you will have to be a little more upfront.  Try the honest approach and that you simply do not want them eating that much sugary candy.  Some teens are completely ok with this and won’t fight back.  If you suspect that will be a bit of a fight, tell them you need the candy for co-workers at work and ask them if you can have some of it.  If you want, bring it to work for others to share or throw it out.  Whatever floats your boat!

Thirdly, ration the candy.  If they want to have a piece from time to time, don’t be a miser.  The quickest way for them to build up excitement for the candy if for you to not allow them to have it. Let them have a piece after dinner at night.  Don’t let them snack on it mindlessly.  This just leads to belly aches and poor behavior.

Lastly, have fun with it!  A little candy here and there isn’t going to kill anyone.  Just don’t go overboard with it.  If you don’t make a big deal about it they won’t either.  If you already live a healthy lifestyle they are unlikely to be difficult with this process anyway.  Plus, they will likely lose interest in the candy after a few weeks.  Enjoy the trick or treating!

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National Junk Food Day?

Most of you probably did not know this, but yesterday was National Junk Food Day.  I’m not sure why we need a National Junk Food Day, but it exists.  In a society that is as unhealthy as we currently are it looks like to me every day is National Junk Food Day.  Why don’t we just have a National Smoking Day or a National Eat ‘Til You Can’t Buckle Your Pants Day?

Ok, so maybe we shouldn’t have those days but I think you get the picture.  Having a day to ‘celebrate’ junk food is ridiculous in my opinion because judging by health care costs and our waistlines, people are already celebrating it too much!  Check out the statistics below on junk food consumption in this country.

STATS!

  • The average American eats about 24.5 pounds of candy per year, with 11.6 pounds being chocolate candy
  • There are 3,961 confectionery and nut stores in the U.S.
  • The top five ice cream flavors are vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, strawberry and chocolate chip mint
  • More than 90% of households in the U.S. consume ice cream
  • Not into candy or desserts? The U.S. has 12,804 McDonald’s restaurants
  • Children aged 6 to 11 are more likely to eat cookies than apples (or any other type of fruit)
  • 12- to 17-year-olds are as likely to eat potato chips as salad
  • On average 82 percent of people eat no cruciferous vegetables in a given day
  • On average 41 percent of people eat no fruits at all in a given day
  • Each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant
  • McDonald’s feeds more than 46 million people a day. (That’s more than the entire population of Spain.)
  • French fries are the most eaten “vegetable” in America
  • There’s one soda vending machine for every 97 Americans
  • In 1972, we spent $3 billion a year on fast food — today we spend more than $110 billion.
  • Sodas alone contribute 7.1 percent of total calories eaten
  • Salty snacks and fruit-flavored drinks add another five percent
  • Children and youth aged 11 to 18 years visit fast food outlets an average of twice a week
  • Household income spent on away-from-home foods rose from 25 percent of total food spending in 1970 to nearly one-half in 1999
  • By 14 years of age, 32 percent of adolescent girls and 52 percent of boys in the United States are consuming three or more eight-ounce servings of sweetened soft drinks daily

I got a little carried away with the statistics but they are incredibly easy to find and they are fascinating.  Some of them are unbelievable!  This is part of the problem in the US in terms of health.  These companies specifically market to children so they can get them hooked and in the habit of consuming their food.  They know that habits are hard to change even if they’re bad for your health.  If they can get a child hooked they’ve got a costumer for life.

I hope these statistics have enlightened you a little and I hope it makes you think about just how much junk we put into our mouths as Americans.  A National Junk Food Day is not necessary and hopefully in the next few years it can pass us by and no one will notice.

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