This is the first Halloween I bought “real” candy.
Every year Mike asks me if I can, and I decline. Usually, I get a bunch of small toys. glow sticks, and erasers for The Teal Pumpkin Project (and still do it!). Ella would only go to a few houses, then the Switch Witch would come so that would leave for very little leftover candy in the house.
On Halloween I always have a bowl of non-food treats, then something non-GMO like organic bags of popcorn or Annie’s gummies. This year, I did have a bowl of toys and some Annie’s stuff but ended up buying a bag of the “real” candy. GMOs, artificial colors, and all that jazz for the second bowl.
Who am I?
Well, honestly, I have really lightened up these last couple of years. We don’t buy candy like this ever (I don’t even think it tastes that good). The only time Ella really has it is if she goes to the movies with my husband, and that isn’t often at all.
Jaxon has allergies, but we need to learn how to navigate them in the world we live in. This was the first year he went trick-or-treating with Ella and he had the time of his life! I know which candy is safe for him, and which isn’t. He had no idea what was happening but he loved every second of it. All he knew was that he ran up to a house, said “trick-or-treat” then people would put something in his little bag, he would say “thank you” then run to the next.
Ella isn’t a fiend where she binges on candy when she gets her hands on it. I don’t put any “rules” around her food like she has to finish dinner before dessert, and I even try not to label food “good” or “bad.” In fact, I sent her in with some leftover candy at school because I know a few pieces of junk over a few days isn’t going to ruin her health.
Or nix the candy altogether. However, I realized how expensive it was to do what I was doing, also I like to try to find true balance in times like these. I am not sure if I will do it again next year (the Boom Chica Pop popcorn was always a hit with the kids!), but all I know is I have no regrets.
The day after Halloween social media did a great job of inundating us with how we should feel and what we should do with that candy hangover. Here are my tips!
1. Stop Using Exercise as a means of Punishment
Exercise isn’t a punishment for eating. You ate 10 mini snickers in a day. So what? Does this happen every day? Probably not. Don’t overly concern yourself with getting to a spin class to burn it all off. Sure, go to spin because it is part of your routine, and move on.
2. Don’t deprive yourself
Nourish, not punish is my motto.
The reason we lose control around this type of candy is because is highly addictive. As I mentioned in my post last week, scientists work for these food companies to literally figure out what to add to these hyper-palatable foods to get you to consume more.
Looking at the ingredient list (NOT fat, calories, sugar) is enough to motivate me to toss it out.
However, even I fell into enjoying some with my kids this year … and man it is hard once you eat it to stop sometimes, even though it doesn’t even taste as good as other sweet treats to me.
My daughter heard me fuss over a Twix bar because her friend was excited she took it as I loved them and when we sorted through her candy she said “here mommy, these are for I know you love them.” So sweet! I don’t even love them that much, but what am I going to do not share it with her?
As I said above, eat the candy if you want the candy. Try and actually enjoy it, taste it, chew it, then move on. Make your next meal full of wholesome foods, not from a factory.
The issue with highly sugary processed foods is that it can cause you to crash fast, then have more unhealthy food cravings. I like to personally eat a hearty meal full of healthy fats and lots of color, followed by a mug of apple cider vinegar with hot water to help break the cycle.
3. Remove the temptation
Okay you ate it, you enjoyed it, but now you’re starting to get a stomach ache, your head is hurting, and you’re feeling super tired from eating more sugar and questionable ingredients than usual. Use my meal tip above then get the candy out of the house. My next two tips will help you with that.
4. The Switch Witch
We started this with Ella back in 2013, and she has loved it ever since. She actually has a really easy time picking which candy to give her, because she LOVES new toys, and gets over the candy thing fast. This was the first year Jaxon went out, and it was easy with his bag because we just got rid of all the things that weren’t safe for him. I usually have a family member do the trade on their way out, and then they are stuck with the candy and it is out of my hands what they want to do with it (wink wink).
The only thing we do differently is we place a pumpkin bucket with the candy in it at the door, walk away, text the switch witch, and she lets us know when the trade has been made so the kids get to open their toys before bed.
5. Donate it
There are many children that don’t get to go trick-or-treating. There are many organizations that accept Halloween candy, whether it is for kids, troops, or even your local retirement community. My daughter told me after the switch witch came that she set aside a bucket for the soldiers too! This was completely unprovoked and I didn’t even mention that so I am not sure where she heard it! This was such a proud mom moment for me. I planned to show the lesson on sharing something we have so much of with others, and here she was already on board and schooling me.
Here are some ideas:
Halloween Candy Buy Back Program
Visit this site to search for a participating dentist near you who will accept candy in exchange for toothbrushes, coupons, and sometimes cash. Important note: It’s very important that you call ahead. Many dentists set certain buy back rules and have specific drop-off hours.
Soldiers’ Angels organizes Treats for Troops annually and is aiming to collect 17,000 pounds worth of candy 2017. Visit the website to find a donation drop-off point, or register to start a drive of your own.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
The Ronald McDonald House helps keep severely ill kids and their parents together during treatment. After Halloween, most locations accept donations of unopened candy for the families being served. You can search for your local chapter on the website, but call ahead to find out the rules for dropping off candy.
Operation Shoebox and Any Soldier
These two organizations support our troops overseas. Operation Shoebox accepts individually wrapped candies year-round. Any Soldier allows you to decide which branch of the armed forces you’d like to support: Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines.
Do your kids want to wear their costumes again? Call any local retirement community and see if you and your children (maybe even get your friends and their kids on board) want to brighten someone’s day by reverse trick-or-treating and handing out candy!
Lastly, if you are the person who decides to throw out the small amount of candy because you don’t really feel like anyone is benefiting from eating it … that is fine. There, I said it. Maybe make a point to do something with your kids where you are donating wholesome foods to any of the above organizations or to the less fortunate. That’s totally your prerogative.
What do you like to do with leftover Halloween candy?
Have a great weekend!