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Finding a balance with Halloween candy

By Lori Prichard | Posted - Oct 24th, 2013 @ 6:00pm

SALT LAKE CITY — In one week, children will be on the streets trying to gather as much candy as possible. But how can parents keep Halloween candy consumption from getting out of hand?

Jen Stemmons, mother of five, said she's heard that some parents try to get their children's candy right back out the door.

"I've heard other moms take the candy away from the kids as soon as the kids get home from trick or treating, some of them end up giving it back out at the door as the older kids come around," Stemmons said. "I think that's a good idea and I can see the benefit of that, but I also don't think that would fly at our house."

Realistically, kids will eat candy on Halloween, but it doesn't mean parents should let them go "hog wild."

"Besides the tummy ache and the hyperactivity, you're talking a month out before they're done with this candy. And by then it's a habit and children expect it, and crave for that," said Robin Aufdenkampe, dietitian at Primary Children's Hospital.

The trick is finding a happy medium.

"I try really hard to feed my kids a healthy dinner before they go out," Stemmons said.

Aufdenkampe suggests associating candy with other activities like a scavenger hunt or a treat after a family walk.

"It's not that they have to work for it again, but they're just learning how to incorporate that treat into a balanced lifestyle," Aufdenkampe said.

Three of Stemmons' children said they would go on a walk, do jumping jacks or perform cartwheels for candy.

Aufdenkampe said that parents should always be aware of how much candy the kids are eating and that the key is portion control

"Ideally children's snacks are under 100 calories per serving," she said. "A Snickers serving right is 170 calories. You could easily just cut the portion in two."

Another idea from Aufdenkampe is to have kids separate their favorite candy from their least favorite candy, and then get the least favorite candy out of the house.

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