Healthy Halloween – The Morning After

Now that the party is over, what do you do with all that CANDY??

Halloween has come and gone, but one thing remains, piles and piles of CANDY! Check out the ingredients and you will not only find sugar but also corn syrup, cocoa butter, milk fat, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, coloring (including yellow 6, red 40, yellow 5, blue 2, blue 1), and the list goes on, loads of ingredients with little to no nutritive value.

So, now what do you do with all that candy?
1) Limit treats to one each day for a week, then discard or donate the rest.
Candy calories add up quickly, and provide additional sugar that our kids (or their parents!) don’t need. In case you missed it, see the calorie breakdown of popular treats.
2) The Pumpkin Fairy! Is there a special toy, game, or outing that would interest your child? Tell your kids the “Pumpkin Fairy” is planning on paying them a visit. Trade your child’s candy for a special treat, yet this time, not a treat your child will eat! Most of the fun of Halloween has to do with procuring candy. Sure eating sweets is fun, but kids won’t be too disappointed if they get something equally desirable in return.
3) Donate it! There are a few established organizations that are willing to accept candy donations. Operation Gratitude was founded to support men and women deployed outside the US to help raise morale. Check out this Halloween Candy Buy Back program organized by dentists!

FEED turned to local Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Reena Shah of Growing Smiles for her advice on candy consumption in kids.
Q: If there is one type of candy to consume, what would you suggest?
A: If candy is consumed, choose a variety that can “wash off teeth easily,” such as chocolate. Gummy candies, such as Skittles, Starburst, or Air Heads, for example, typically get caught in the grooves of the teeth. These sticky sweets can attract other food particles, which may increase bacteria in the mouth.

Q: If my child brushes his teeth right after eating candy, are his teeth protected?
A: From a tooth perspective, brushing teeth with toothpaste immediately following candy consumption will clear the grooves of any candy residue, and is the best way to reduce bacteria on teeth.

Q: What about sugar-free gum? Is that just as good as brushing my child’s teeth?
A: Gum chewing will aid in removing sugar from the teeth, but brushing teeth is the best way to reduce bacteria. Dr. Shah suggests sugar-free gum, specifically one that contains xylitol that actually inhibits the creation of acid in the mouth, thus reducing the risk of tooth decay.

Always remember, eat sweets in moderation, and if you choose sweets, make sure to brush!

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.