Halloween candy conundrum: Should you limit how much candy you or your child has today?

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Halloween is here! Bring on the spooky decor, creative costumes and trick or treat fun for the kiddos! Let’s not forget how cute it is to see pets wear tiny costumes.

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Bennett the Jedi

Whether you enjoy the celebrating or the scaring, there is one thing I don't want you to fear your child, or yourself: Halloween Candy.

I’m not a parent so I can’t possibly understand what it feels like to raise a human being. Shout out to all you parents doing and wanting what’s best for your children! When thinking about Halloween candy, you may feel the urge to limit how much of it your child eats “to be healthy”. But please don't, and here’s why.

Kids are the best example of intuitive eating. They know how much candy to eat if given unconditional permission to have it. If your child eats a lot of candy, they likely will have a belly ache which will show them naturally that they may not want to eat as much next time. We are all born knowing how much to eat because bodies are amazing at regulating hunger and fullness. The real problem is when we get immersed into diet culture and try to control our food urges-this throws our intuition out of whack.

Restriction of any kind leads to unhealthy relationships with food. The moment a child feels threatened that their beloved candy is being taken away, the more they want it and the more it will consume their brain space. Restricting Halloween candy leads to food obsession, anxiety and shame around food. When a child is caught up with thoughts about this forbidden candy, it hinders their ability to tune into their intuition with eating. If they aren’t allowed to have it in their own home, they will seek it out elsewhere.

The best thing to do is not make a big deal of candy to yourself or your child. To avoid describing it as “good or bad”- just let it be. It’s important to remember that Halloween is once a year. If your child (or you!) chooses to eat more candy than is comfortable-IT IS OK. You will not be malnourished and your body size will not change. Nutrition and healthful relationships with food are big picture concepts; one day(or more!) does not define your health. Enjoy Halloween-I hope your trick or treaters leave you with leftover candies :)

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Parents-if you would like resources to guide you in feeding your child/children; click here for Ellyn Satters work

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