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One treat at a time

Thousands of kids from across the region will come home with a giant bag full of candy after trick-or-treating tonight. But how and when they eat that candy may worry parents. Instead of keeping the candy from kids, Jennifer Haugen, a dietitian a...

Thousands of kids from across the region will come home with a giant bag full of candy after trick-or-treating tonight.

But how and when they eat that candy may worry parents.

Instead of keeping the candy from kids, Jennifer Haugen, a dietitian at Altru, said parents should ration the candy instead of restricting it altogether.

"A lot of people focus on that and see the bad and that there's tons of candy," Haugen said. "But it doesn't necessarily have to be like that."

It's important for kids to not think of candy as forbidden, Haugen said. Like all other sweet treats, candy is OK every once in awhile in moderation.

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Dinner first

With her kids, Haugen said she puts the candy in the pantry and rations it out over the coming weeks to make sure her kids do not overindulge.

Then, after eating dinner, she let's her kids have a few pieces of candy. That way, they've already had something nutritious for dinner, and they're not going to fill up on candy.

"Then, you aren't making such a big deal about candy being bad and needing to be healthy all the time. That's not really the message we want to promote. Usually when you're restricting things, the kids want it more."

Timing the snacks is one of the most important parts of allowing candy in moderation. Parents should limit it to when kids might not be as hungry so they don't overeat.

Haugen said she typically limits her children to two or three small pieces of candy a night.

"Obviously, I don't want them to fill up on candy because that's not very healthy or nutritious," she said. "But I think timing it after their meal, where they would be satisfied with just a couple of pieces, is a good plan."

Halloween kicks off a run of holidays where people have a tendency to overeat, Haugen said, noting Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

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With the holidays, Haugen said it's important to educate people - including children - how to eat healthy and how choose the proper portions.

To learn more, Haugen recommends visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Related Topics: ALTRUHEALTH
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