In case you haven’t noticed, squads of mini superheroes have taken over the streets of your local school districts. Halloween is already in full swing, and parents, we know exactly which costume you’ll be wearing—magician. Besides keeping your little ones safe, your other job will be to trick your kids out of all those treats.
Not only do you want to avoid the late-night sugar high, but more importantly, you want to discourage bad dietary habits, and encourage simple ways to enjoy food without sacrificing health.
According to the University of California, sugar increases your risk for chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. The average American already eats 83g more sugar than the recommended 30g suggested by the American Heart Association. How do you prevent your child from becoming a statistic? Here are a few easy ways to help your kids put down the candy.
- Add Sugar Appeal
A study at Columbia University reported that “…kids don’t associate high-sugar foods with tummy aches and sugar crashes like adults do…” so “…the immediate experience of eating something delicious outweighs any negative repercussions of eating bad foods.” The appearance of food also resonates more with children, so the goal is to have them craving nutritious options before they get hypnotized by lollipops.
Before trick-or-treating, aim to make a visually creative dinner that gets them too full to eat again. For example, try making jack-o-lantern quesadillas. For easy prep, cut triangle eyes and a mouth out of Veestro’s Chick’n Quesadilla. Pop in the microwave for five minutes for quick heating. Add the accompanying black bean sauce to a separate bowl, and top with a spider web design made out of vegan sour cream. Spook-tacular!
For drinks, have kids participate in the fun by adding flavored water drops to zero-calorie seltzer water. They can make crazy colors and enjoy a little sweetness without the sugar.
- Play Games
Stay interactive by challenging your child to control the way they eat. Create a chart similar to a Chutes and Ladders board game, that can span over the course of one month. For every piece of candy that you or your child eat per day, take a few steps back on the board. Eating vegetables gets you a few steps ahead. Whoever gets to the finish line first is the winner! These visual cues will help your kids to build obedience through determination, while instilling the positive effects of eating plants, and the negative effects of eating sugar.
Never underestimate the art of trading. Create coupon bucks to trade for candy. The cash value of your bucks can be good for extra TV time, a sleepover at a friend’s house, a day off from making the bed—whatever you like! You can go as far as creating a grocery store in your kitchen, and allowing your kids to shop for healthier sweets in the freezer. Check out our dessert menu for guilt-free options, like our Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, made out of chickpeas!
American Heart Association. “Frequently Asked Questions About Sugar.”
Obesity Society Journal. “Isocaloric fructose restriction and metabolic improvement in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome.”
U.S. News. “How Food Cravings Change As We Age.“