For a lot of candy-crazed kids, Halloween is synonymous with sugar, and that makes it one of the scariest times of the year.
Knowing how to curb monstrous appetites without a party.
Is there such a thing as "good candy"? Does a spike in sugar intake really make kids hyper? Does limiting the candy eat a complex about food?
The right approach to keeping children from overdoing it requires advance planning and basic ground rules.
Here's a look at what some dietary, dental and health experts say.
THE "NO LIMITS" ARGUMENT
Chelsea Cross and Andrea D'Ambrosio are two children who want to overdo it.
Cross, who specializes in weight loss and digestive health in Guelph, focuses on promoting healthy eating habits. What you don't want, she says, is for kids to believe in some foods are "bad" or "good."
D'Ambrosio warns that neg negativity and and fear fear mongering increases increases liberal liberal candy stance out outlined in a blog post titled: parents Why parents must stop restricting very Halloween candy. "
"When parents encourage children to listen to their bodies, the child discovers how much they need to eat," says Kitchener-based D'Ambrosio of Dietetic Directions. "Conversely, when parents dictate how much the child 'should' eat, we slowly erode the intuitive eating skill."
Avoid gorging Halloween night by filling tummies with a healthy meal or healthy snacks beforehand
"HEALTHIER" CANDY, SORT OF
Vancouver dietitian Ali Chernoff notes
"I would love to give out apples," Chernoff chuckles.
When it comes to candy options, natural licorice is lower in calories and has no fat, she says. Meanwhile, a growing number of brands like stevia-sweetened SmartSweets are low in sugar and high in fiber, she says.
Chernoff recalls how every mother – a dental hygienist – used to give out toothbrushes on Halloween night to avoid cavities. Sticky gummies and chews, and sweets that sit on teeth like lollipops and juice, are among the worst for teeth, she says.
Cross says nutrient-dense sweets, like energy bites and granola bars, are the better options.
But don't be fooled by those supermarket gummies that tout ingredients including real fruits and vegetables. Cross calls those products "a gimmick."
"It can be from real fruit, but it's still a fast sugar hit, you're not getting any fiber or any benefits, per se," says Cross, whose MC Dietetics has offices in Mississauga and Guelph.
THE SUGAR MYTH
Despite long-held notions to the contrary, Chernoff says there's no proof behind the belief that sugar turns little kids into over-active monsters.
The founder of Nutrition At Its Best dismisses it entirely as "a myth."
"There is no scientific evidence showing that sugar makes you hyper," she says.
"Your energy is really coming from the fruits and vegetables and grains.
Kids are generally nuts for all the associated activities of Halloween.
In the days that follow, the Canadian Dental Association recommends that you eat a meal, and that you can choose what you want.
They also advise you to treat a glass of water after eating.
Post-Halloween parents should be in charge of the snack haul, not the kids, adds Cross. She suggests putting the stash in a hard-to-reach location and just not offering it as the days pass.
Allow one treat for the first week or so after Halloween, and then work on tapering kids off of their stash, she says.
And don't deny them if they ask for a candy, she adds. Eventually, she says most kids will return to their regular routine.
Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press