You might wonder if these two words even look right next to each other. Anyone who has school age children and lives in California is now aware of the fact that the State of California has changed the Wellness Policy (nutrition standards) for every school in the State. That’s quite a statement! They are recognizing the overall poor state of health of children.
Personally, I was thrilled to hear the news. I am an advocate for children’s health and I couldn’t be happier that California is paving the way for a healthier America!
Writing a column about nutrition and health during the month of October, when Halloween is at the top of the list, is an interesting undertaking. The good news is that it works! The reason: we all want our children to be happy and healthy. That doesn’t change on Halloween night.
On Halloween, that one special day, our kids get to be something (or someone) new. They get to play, explore, pretend. So do we! What a treat! Who doesn’t like to do that?
The other side of Halloween … is candy. It took me one Halloween with my oldest son when he was very young to realize that eating candy while trick or treating was not a good plan – at least not for our family. Meltdown, fatigue and sugar overload didn’t go hand in hand with the fun of gallivanting on trick or treat night. Since then, our general rule is no candy eating during trick or treating (maybe one towards the end of the night as the kids are getting older), and only a total of one candy can be eaten that night (after all wrappers are checked for quality/safety control). Our kids don’t even squawk about it. It’s just what we do.
What I find amazing is that within 1-2 days, my kids totally forget about the candy they collected on Halloween night. They love the pile the night of Halloween – that is quite an accomplishment. But they really aren’t interested and don’t seem to have an investment in eating the candy down the road. Whew! Thank goodness!
Halloween is really more about the experience of dressing up, going out with friends and family, checking out costumes and decorations, saying “trick or treat,” and seeing how much candy you can collect. It’s really not about eating the candy. Something to think about.
So, I say enjoy and explore and have the time of your life with your kids. Set boundaries and have conversations, in advance, about when and how much candy can be eaten. And … very important … make sure they have a good solid dinner before going out trick or treating. It makes a huge difference for them. The night goes better. They aren’t eating candy because they are hungry. They have more fun. You have more fun. It’s just a good plan.
In light of the nutrition changes in California, and the awareness that is developing about health, if you would like to receive helpful hints for healthy school lunch ideas, information about free nutrition talks in the area, or if you would like to know how to easily get 17 raw fruits, vegetables and grains into your family every day, feel free to contact me at 800-647-1171 or e-mail me at email@example.com.
May you have a safe and happy Halloween!!
Traci Gaffney 800-647-1171 www.alovingway.com
Healthy Halloween Neighbors Newspaper, October 2006 Family Forum Column
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