With fall upon us, we are getting closer to the holiday season. Our first will be Halloween, a festival to celebrate the end of the summer and beginning of the "darker" half of the year. Although primarily enjoyed by children who dress-up in costumes and walk door-to-door for trick or treating, Halloween can be a tough time for adults who feel the call of the candy.
I rarely see trick-or-treaters because there are few children in my neighborhood, but I am still tempted to purchase candy and other goodies in case one comes knocking on the door. So the question surfaces: What do I do with the rest of the candy I don't give away? I bring the "leftover" candy to work to share among lots of people rather than just my small household. Also, I make sure that any candy at work is not anywhere near my own desk so I decrease my risk of temptation. Another method is to freeze the candy for use later. It lasts for months and I use it for topping my ice cream.
Sometimes, I purchase candy ahead of time to take advantage of sales. The problem is the possibility of indulging too much too early. Obviously, the best solution is to wait until the day of Halloween, but what if there is no time? One way I alleviate this issue is buying candy that I don't like or normally wouldn't eat. It takes the temptation away and also prevents me from eating any extras I may have. I also hide candy in the back of the pantry and allow myself only one piece per day.
However, candy doesn't need to be the only give-away for trick-or-treaters. Other sweet but healthier food alternatives could be raisins, 100% fruit snacks, snack-size packages of cookies or crackers, sugar-free gum or cereal bars. As a child, I was equally excited to receive pencils, stickers, fake jewelry, bubbles and pens. Additionally, my neighborhood offered a Halloween carnival at the end of the night, so many neighbors also gave us pennies so we could use them at the event. With safety issues associated with door-to-door trick-or-treating, this might be a good time to speak with the homeowner's association and start a Halloween carnival for neighborhood children. I also recommend parents hold parties together with each family bringing a homemade treat, such as oatmeal cookies or fruit salad, which can be shared with everyone.
The holiday season is one of enjoyment and happiness, yet a frequent problem is overindulgence. The key to remember is moderation. When a child comes home with a bag full of candy, there is no need to throw it all away. Work out a plan that involves a couple of pieces of candy per day and stash the rest away in the pantry. Remember the holiday season has only begun and many more treasures lie ahead!
Rhea Li is a Registered Dietitian who received her Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Master's degree in Public Health from the University of Texas. She has a special interest in working with children and has received her certification in pediatric weight management. Currently, she is working on a research study to determine the importance of nutrition in pediatric cancer patients. In the past, she has worked with pregnant women and their children. In her spare time, she enjoys being with family, exercising, traveling and of course, eating.