Halloween is one of the most highly anticipated holidays for kids. And inevitably, aside from costumes, the focus is on candy. So, how much candy is healthy. Let's ask the experts.
Children are in preparation mode long before the day arrives. They often celebrate at school as well as home and by the time Halloween is over, candy is everywhere. So what limit should parents place on candy intake? While there are no hard and fast rules on how much candy one can consume, everyone is aware of the adverse effects it can cause if not kept in check.
“Halloween is a treat, that’s all. As such, we should think of it that way,” pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Murray tells PEOPLE. “With any treats, they are not an ongoing, never-ending experience, but instead a finite event," she adds. Dr. Murray further explained that rules for candy consumption vary from family to family and that children's age and “how your family usually handles things such as dessert” plays a significant role in deciding the limit. “For preschool-age children, it is relatively easy to limit their candy haul as they don’t really have any expectations,” she explains, adding that at home, “they can be special helpers handing out candy to others.”
On the other hand, children who are a bit older should be handled more thoughtfully, Dr. Murray said. Parents should not restrict them severely because it can lead to conflict. They should explain productively all the pros and cons, specifying how an overdose of candy can have harmful effects on the body.
“Eating all of your candy at once will make you sick and being told you can only have one or two pieces will likely lead to conflict, so the balance will be somewhere in the middle,” she says. Parents should be strict on how many days this festivity should continue and not "drag on for days and days." She further asserts that “candy should not replace a meal, nor should it be consumed before a meal." A timetable for eating the trick-o-treating candy helps, and it is also important to understand the body's symptoms. Over-consumption of candy can be painful and sickening.
Dr. Tyree Winters, an osteopathic physician and board-certified pediatrician, advised parents to discuss the complete scenario beforehand to avoid conflict later on. She suggested to “set a predetermined amount of candy that they feel is an appropriate amount” and convey it to the kids. Families following a no-sugar policy throughout the year should also try to bend the rules around Halloween but not break them entirely.
These are some of the guidelines parents can follow to avoid any health issues in their children while maintaining a proper balance between fun and health.