The seasons have come around to fall once again, and the Halloween rush is on. When my children were young, that meant home made costumes from our ever-expanding collection, making flowing gauze ghosts to hang in the front tree, lining the driveway with lit carved pumpkins, making fruit punch in a black plastic cauldron, and leaning a witches broom and hat by the front door, while ghostly moans from a spooky sound track filled the house.
The dads distributed flashlights and glow sticks, the moms corralled everyone for the annual photo, and the kids dashed for the largest candy bag they could find—their pillowcases. None of those cute little candy containers were ever sufficient.
We hosted the annual Halloween night neighborhood chili dinner to help harness the excitement and take the edge off of the incoming flood of candy with a quick, healthy, shared meal. The excitement was palpable.
Our candy bowl had a green battery-powered plastic hand in the middle that would flinch when a hand reached in. It spooked, but never stopped anyone from grabbing a few pieces. The elementary school always gave a homework assignment to count and categorize each load of candy. By the end of the evening, the kids were exhausted, and would only eat a few pieces. Their exuberance for it lasted only a couple days and after that, Halloween and candy were mostly long forgotten.
The kids learned that this was a special treat. No threats, no drama—just learning for themselves the difference between a special occasion and daily food needs. Candy isn’t on my weekly grocery list, and rarely in our home. Within a few days of Halloween, the thrill of the hunt was gone and we were back to our regular eating routine. Sometimes I would find those pillowcases of candy weeks later, and they would quietly disappear—just in time for the next lesson in go-slow-whoa foods with the appearance of the next holiday’s traditional novelty treats.
Here’s a link to read another Halloween blog post, “5 Ways to Help Kids Eat Smart This Halloween,” also written by a registered dietitian.
Have a spooktacular Halloween!
Fall is back-to-school time and much has been written in newspapers, magazines and blogs about healthy food to pack for your favorite students. Keep protein selections lean, add fruits and veggies, and pack whole grains when possible. Melissa wrote a blog entry on packing healthy lunches below.
Choosing a lunch box is a favorite activity for kids. Insulated bento boxes are big this year. Check out www.easylunchboxes.com and www.laptoplunches.com . No matter what type of lunch box, bag, or pouch you choose, be sure to add a chill pack or frozen juice box to keep the food cool. Chill packs also prevent food-borne illness in foods that need refrigeration. These would include foods with protein like meats, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, and mayonnaise. Nuts and seeds do not require chilling.
Read through the kid-friendly recipes on www.Playnormous.com/health/recipes with your child. The recipes and the games on the website are great conversation starters to ensure that your student eats healthy to learn well all year.