With Halloween just around the corner, it's a great time to give parents some tips from the experts, including the local chief of pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center.
Kaiser Permanente pediatric chiefs throughout Southern California were surveyed on the top reason kids end up sick after Halloween, and the answer is: eating too much candy! Tummy aches are the most frequently reported childhood ailment during the season of Ghosts’n Goblins and overeating candy seems to be the common cause.
“Halloween is synonymous with costumes and trick-or-treating. However, an abundance of candy, chocolate bars and other sugary treats are also part of the festivities,” said Robert Riewerts, MD, Chief of Pediatrics at Kaiser PermanenteBaldwin Park Medical Center and Regional Chief of Pediatrics, Southern California Permanente Medical Group.
“While a few treats are ok – Halloween comes once a year after all and you want the whole family to have fun – parents really need to limit the amount of candy their children can have and make the sweets part of a balanced diet,” he added.
So how can parents reinforce the healthy eating message they’ve been working so hard to maintain?
Some tips from the experts:
Just a handful of candy can provide an unnecessary 24 teaspoons of sugar.
- If you’re giving out treats select healthier choices. Pretzels, raisins, popcorn are also treats children enjoy!
- Instead of candy, hand out stickers, pencils and other fun Halloween-themed school supplies.
- If you go trick-or-treating, make sure the entire family has a healthy and hearty meal first. This will prevent tasting candy along the way due to hunger!
- Allow a 2-3 piece candy limit per day – maybe one piece at lunch and the other after dinner – and make sure you stash the rest out of reach and sight.
- Encourage your children to donate their candy to a senior center, food bank, or homeless shelter. Then reward their act of kindness with a fun book!
- Trick-or-treating means a walk around the neighborhood. Play some games along the way; maybe power walk from one house to the next; hop up to the door! Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Mom, dad, lead by example! Don’t tell your kids they can’t eat their candy, while you indulge in treats!