This year marks my daughter’s third Halloween and, dare I say, her best one yet (mostly because this is the first year that she was both able to understand what was going on and enjoy it). The sugar haul she accumulated last night is quite respectable and weighs approximately as much as she does. As a dietitian, a health professional dedicated to encouraging healthy, balanced intake to promote well-being and prevent disease, does this make my nutrition-focused heart die a little bit? Not for a moment.
On Halloween night we let her eat a lot of candy. I wanted her to enjoy all parts of the holiday and that includes enjoying some candy. Though she regularly enjoys small portions of baking and desserts, candy is something she only gets a couple times a year. She worked so hard walking up and down the block and trick or treating so politely, she should enjoy some of the spoils of her efforts. Since the first night, she has had a couple of treats a day, which will taper off after the first week or so. This is our version of moderation.
A few candies for a week or two will not determine whether or not she develops significant health conditions, particularly if paired with plenty of physical activity and balanced meals. There are some tasty treats out there to be enjoyed and I don’t want to overly shelter her or remove her ability to make choices. I hope she gets a taste for some, so then she leaves the ones she doesn’t like. I hope she learns to savour her favourites, so she she can eat mindfully when eating treats and avoid regularly over indulging. I hope she learns that candy is not forbidden, so she doesn’t feel she is bad for eating some. I hope that through giving my child real, sugar-laden candy, she will learn healthy eating and develop a positive relationship with food. This Halloween, my daughter was not relegated to eating apples.