How to Use Intuitive Eating to Have the Perfect Halloween!
It's that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and Halloween is just around the corner! For many children, this holiday is all about candy. While a little candy is okay, too much can lead to cavities, obesity and other health problems. As parents, the thought of leaving our children to veer down this road that leads to an abundance of health issues can be frightening.
When our CEO, Allyson, first had kids she thought for sure that she would never let them eat the traditional candy that’s filled with artificial colors and flavorings, preservatives, and most definitely sugar. And, while that may seem like a great goal for a clean-eating advocate, it’s just not realistic.
Being overly pushy with clean alternatives to traditional candy can actually have the opposite effect on your kids. It can make them resent clean-eating and push them towards foods filled with artificial ingredients. So what is the answer? How can you help your children make healthier choices when it comes to their Halloween candy?
Intuitive Eating Might be Just What You Need!
At Frozen Garden, we believe the answer falls on a method of eating called intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that teaches children (and adults!) to follow their body’s hunger and fullness cues as opposed to following emotional or external cues. We are all born with this intuitive eating skill, babies will eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full; however, as we grow we start using external cues and influences to decide when we eat. Don’t worry, though! It’s never too late to implement intuitive eating within your household! And Halloween may be just the right time to start! So keep reading to learn about some of our tricks and tips for intuitive eating during the Halloween season.
The first tip we want you to consider when trying to implement and/or enforce intuitive eating around Halloween, is that it’s a once-a-year event that is centered around candy. Most likely, Halloween was one of your favorite holidays as a kid because of the candy and your children probably feel the same way. Keep this in mind as you try to teach and enforce these intuitive eating skills.
Next, it is important with intuitive eating that you offer your children nutrient-rich, clean food options, but don’t be overly pushy with these healthy choices. Intuitive eating is about creating a healthy relationship with food, and being over-bearing with nutritious and nourishing food options can have negative effects on your child’s relationship with those clean and healthy foods. It’s no surprise that kids typically want what they can’t have, so, if you’re not allowing them to have any traditional candy, you're most likely causing them to crave and obsess about it even more. This result is the complete opposite of what we want to come from intuitive eating. So make sure when it comes to your kid’s Halloween candy, and even their meals throughout the day, you’re not being overly pushy with healthy treats.
To avoid being over-bearing and pushy with healthy foods and candy alternatives while introducing intuitive eating, you’re going to have to relinquish some control over your child’s eating habits. We know this is going to be the hard part, but it is key when implementing intuitive eating. According to a dietician at healthline.com, as a parent enforcing intuitive eating your responsibility should be what and when you offer your child to eat as well as where you have your child eat. It is then your child’s responsibility to use their intuitive eating skills to decide whether they want to eat at a specific time and how much they eat.
When it comes to Halloween candy, this may mean allowing your child to have complete control over their candy for a day or two after the holiday, but then you can come in and set boundaries for your children and their candy. This can help teach them that it’s perfectly okay to enjoy some candy every now and then, but we should always be tuning in to our intuitive eating abilities (especially when it comes to treats like candy) and just because it’s there doesn't mean that we have to eat it. In fact, you can turn it into another lesson on giving back. Get them excited about sharing and helping others, and have them donate their leftover candy to a local food pantry or organization that sends candy to our troops overseas. In doing so you're not only teaching your kid about giving back to those that need it, but you are also improving their relationship with food. That’s what intuitive eating is all about! Improving your kid’s (and your own) relationship with food.
What to Expect when Introducing Intuitive Eating at Halloween
With this intuitive eating approach to Halloween candy your children will likely fall into one of two categories - 1) they feel so in control of their candy that it loses its novelty, and, therefore, they don’t want to eat it as much or as often or 2) they’ll go overboard with eating their candy so much so that they feel sick afterwards. Either way, your child will likely learn that eating a whole bunch of candy and sugary foods in a short period of time isn’t super satisfying or satiating. They’ll learn to listen to their body and come to understand that they need something with more sustenance in order to feel satisfied and full. Maybe they’ll even start opting for one of our delicious whole-food Smoothies or Delites as a treat instead of their sugary, artificial candy. And the best part of this is that they will be learning this lesson on intuitive eating all on their own instead of it being their “overbearing parents” telling them to eat an apple and not their favorite candy bar.
Following our tricks and tips on intuitive eating can not only help reduce some of the stress that comes with deciding to allow your kids to enjoy their Halloween candy, but it also teaches your child how to listen to their body in a way that will help them regulate their own intake of sweets. This intuitive eating skill, a skill of understanding their body’s cues and having control over how much they eat and when they eat it, is something they will carry with them throughout their childhood and into adulthood. Overall, teaching your child about intuitive eating is a great way to help them make healthier choices this Halloween – and all year round!