Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live , is answering your nutrition, diet and health questions.
Want to know how celebrities are getting their fabulous post-baby bodies? And, if their diet plan is right for you?
This week's question...
"What's worse on Halloween: letting my kids eat all the candy they want on Halloween night and then getting rid of it or letting them have two pieces a night for one week?" -- Charlotte H., Kansas City, Miss.
I get this question every year around Halloween and it's not an easy answer. No parent wants to dress up as the Candy Police on Halloween night, but unlimited candy for weeks on end is a horror movie in the making. So what do you do? The short answer: there is no right or wrong answer. You just gotta know your family.
Every family should have a food philosophy and culture. As a family, you have probably discussed religion, finances, and education but what about your relationship with food? As a family, have an ongoing conversation about what you believe in so that they can guide good decisions. For example, do you believe in buying all organic? Will you share dessert every night? Have family dinners nightly? Allow junk food in the pantry? How your family will handle Halloween should be part of these discussions.
Before you go out Trick or Treating, come up with a plan for how you're going to handle the haul when you get home. Get your kids in on the decision so that they're not blindsided when their candy stash goes MIA. They might decide they'd rather go all out on October 31st and then say adios to their loot, or they might prefer to have a piece or two every day for a week before bidding their adieus. Whatever the decision is, if everyone is involved and knows what to expect, everyone will be happy.
The one thing that I can say goes for everybody is that Halloween is a special day, so celebrate it! Yes, that means going out Trick or Treating and indulging in a little candy. Not letting your kids get in on the sugary fun would be like not giving them a cake on their birthday -- you want to teach them that if they eat healthfully most of the time, there is room for conscious indulgences and using food for celebrations so they will not struggle with food demons later in life. Avoid the trauma drama and say "have some candy!" But just like any other holiday, don't let it linger around too long. Once the celebration is over, get the candy out of the house - not into the freezer or up on the top shelf. Even if it's hidden away, just knowing it's there is enough to make anyone indulge in sweets too often. You wouldn't eat birthday cake for three months straight after the big day, so don't let Halloween candy become fair snacking game into Thanksgiving.
After the fun is over, donate extra candy to a good cause like Operation Shoebox, which sends support packages to troops overseas. Letting your kids know that their candy is going to service men and women who couldn't participate in the Trick or Treating action will encourage them to sacrifice their sweets and spread the Halloween spirit.
So unlike those Halloween cats and ghosts, the answer to the candy question is not black and white. You can have your candy and eat it too - just limit it to celebrating the holiday. Above all, remember to stay safe, have fun and enjoy a very happy Halloween!
-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman
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