How To NOT Eat All That Halloween Candy And Still Feel Great!
So it's the day after Halloween and you have discovered hoards of Twix and KitKats and God only knows what other toxic goodies your witches and goblins brought home last night. So what are you going to do with all that? Let your kids ruin their health by eating all that junk? Sneak some late at night and gorge on it yourself?
Ok, so I know that some of that candy must be eaten. That's a given. This is a holiday and I wouldn't intend to rob anyone of a great, sugar-laden high. However, did you know that your kids bring home an average of 6000-8000 calories in candy in their goody bags every Halloween (scroll down to the bottom of this blog to see what 100 calories of Halloween candy looks like)? And that's not accounting for the teeth they are destroying and all the nasty chemicals and junk that they are injesting (some of which may be poisonous!), such as artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, artificial ingredients, BHA/BHT, sodium benzoate, and the all too popular high-fructose corn syrup. So I know that if you really love your children (and yourself) you will want to limit their exposure to all that sugar and chemicals, but how?
There are lots of creative ways to get rid of that candy, like using it for crafts or science experiments, having the Switch Witch trade it for a small toy, or even bringing it to your local dentist office for buyback (call your own dentist or search this database to find local dentists who participate). However, my opinion has always been that it's best to GET IT OUT of your house. After all, if it's not there, there is no danger of anyone eating it.
Wondering how you can manage? Well, here's the annual Halloween tradition at our house. At the end of Halloween night, my daughter, Bella, brings home her big bag of candy, the contents of which get dumped out on the table. Bella then gets to choose three pieces of candy to eat on Halloween night, and then her favorite seven pieces of candy that she will eat (one per day) for the next week. We donate the rest of the pile, which makes her feel good because we are saving our teeth, protecting our health, not gaining weight, and helping others all at the same time.
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DONATING YOUR CANDY
Taking your extra "loot" to a national buyback program will not only relieve your kids of too much sugar, but will also teach them about giving and make them feel good knowing that their donation will allow U.S. troops or other kids or adults in need get their fill of the Halloween spirit, too.
Don't know where to donate your candy? Here are 6 wonderful ideas:
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Operation Gratitude sends more than 100,000 care packages annually to U.S. troops stationed in overseas and to their children left behind, as well as veterans. The organization's feel good mission? To put a smile on soldiers' faces. Operation Gratitude accepts donations of unopened candy, and only asks that you separate and mark "chocolate" vs. "non-chocolate" packages. The website contains other important shipping information and kids are encouraged to include letters and pictures, too. They do have a mid-November deadline, so don't put off this feel good exercise with your kids.
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Worried that you won't get it together in time to send the candy to Operation Gratitude by their mid-November deadline? Then consider the Halloween Candy Buy Back program, which benefits Operation Gratitude. Just go to the website to search for a participating dentist near you. Participating dentists will accept candy in exchange for toothbrushes, coupons and sometimes even cold, hard cash. Important note: make sure to CALL AHEAD! Many dentists set certain buy back rules, like a maximum amount of candy or specific drop-off hours, so get the details before you go!
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 make sure to call ahead, as they, too, have rules for dropping off candy.
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4. Operation Stars and Stripes
Founded in 2001 in memory of a Vietnam War hero, this all-volunteer nonprofit supports service members at home and abroad with care packages and letters. Packages of unopened candy can be sent to the organization's Georgia headquarters. Specific shipping info can be found on the website.
5. Operation Shoebox and Any Soldier
These are two more organizations that collect and send care packages to troops overseas. Operation Shoebox accepts individually wrapped candies all year long. Meanwhile, Any Soldier allows you to decide which branch of the armed forces you'd like to support: Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines.
6. Local Organizations and Charities
Finally, don't forget about your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, food pantry, or retirement or nursing home. Many take donations of unopened candy for residents and guests. It's worth calling to find out if they accept treats, which your kids can deliver with a note and a non-cavity-filled smile.
100 CALORIES OF HALLOWEEN CANDY
Whatever you decide to keep after you donate, keep in mind that you still don't want to consume (much less allow your kids to eat) more than 100 calories of sugar and chemical-laden treats per day. Want to know what 100 calories of Halloween candy looks like? Here's a handy guide: