Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dr. Abby: Best Way to Deal with all that Halloween Candy

posted originally on

Dear Dr. Abby,

My kids brought home a stash of Halloween candy, which was enough to haunt any parent! What’s the best way to deal with this delightfully decadent supply?


First and foremost, I hope you shared their excitement about your kids' wonderful accomplishment! Grabbing all that loot required walking and enthusiasm, both of which burned calories. The bigger the pile, the further the mile!

Now, educate them about candy.

Anything with nuts is actually fairly healthy. Nuts contain good oils, while protein and fat minimize the high glycemic index of sugar.

Lollipops and gumdrops are pure sugar, but fairly low in calories. Brushing teeth should be a rule after eating these, since lingering sugar causes cavities.

Dark chocolate tops the list of good stuff.

You might also discuss portions, and/or calorie counts. A few little pieces might be equivalent to a bigger piece, unless it’s a peanut butter cup or peppermint patty, which may have more calories.

If your children are old enough to reason, ask them how they think they should be allowed to eat it.

If they come up with a moderate plan, such as one piece every day after school, or 3 small pieces after dinner, congratulate them on a great plan and let them win. If not, do some negotiation.

Allow them to have a bit more than they should have for the rest of the week, and then wean back towards a typical allotment of sweets.

Be careful about restriction and overindulgence, twin enemies contributing to eating disorders and obesity.

Restriction will probably lead to sneaking and overindulgence, and overindulgence can lead to all sorts of problems. Just keep it in perspective, and avoid sugar battles.

Food battles contra-indicate a lifetime of peace, regarding food and body image. Remember, food may not make them fatter, but food abuse might!

Dr. Abby graduated from Columbia University, and holds 2 masters degrees and a Ph.D. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and Mensa. As a psychologist in private practice for 16 years she helped people with a wide variety of concerns, and has spoken on many topics related to weight loss, mental health, parenting and relationships. Dr. Abby is also president of DAA, Inc. For information regarding coaching, speaking, or therapeutic products, please visit her website at

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