10/30/2012 05:34 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2012

Avoiding Trick-or-Treat Candy Over-Consumption

Halloween is here, and for many moms and dads this means the extremes of sugar highs and sugar crashes. Although we all want our kids to enjoy the fun and sweetness of Halloween, we all know there can be "too much of a good thing" when it comes to Halloween candy.

To keep the sugar-intake to a moderate level, try the following:

Halloween Day:

  1. Well-balanced Pre Trick-or-Treating Meal: Serve your kids a healthy, well-balanced meal before going out trick-or-treating. Be sure to include whole grains, vegetables and lean protein. This will fill them up so they are less likely to consume a lot of candy because they are hungry.
  2. Be Picky: Before you go trick-or-treating with your child, talk to them about their favorite treats. You may want to talk to them about what they think is a good amount to consume that night and make a pact with them about how much they will eat and what you will do with the "leftovers."
  3. Mini Bag it: Use smaller bags for trick-or-treating. In Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, it is argued that people consume more food when it comes in bigger packages. Limiting the capacity of your trick-or-treat bag will naturally limit how much candy your child can acquire.
  4. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait: Let your children enjoy some candy in moderation post-trick-or-treating. Talk to them about waiting until they get home, so they are less likely to be consuming endless amounts of candy on their outing. Either watch how much they consume or keep the treats in a place that you can manage so that you can decide an appropriate stopping point.

Post-Halloween Day:

  1. Apportion the Loot: Apportion the leftover candy into "single-serving" treats your children can enjoy once-a-day or at whatever frequency you deem most appropriate. You may want to formalize these portions by using little Halloween party favor bags, which generally hold two or three small treats. You can staple them to make it clear that the bag is a daily serving.
  2. Giveaway Leftovers: If the idea of giving your child candy every day is distasteful, consider giving away leftovers to places like your office, libraries or pediatrician offices. Or, talk to your children about sharing their candy with children who are less fortunate, such as at local orphanages or hospitals.
  3. Out of Sight: If you want to keep the leftover candy around, but don't want to make it a daily ritual, put the overflow into a hard-to-reach cabinet or into the very back of a cabinet to keep it out of sight. The less you or you child sees the treats, the less likely they will think about them.
  4. Sales: A lot of stores will sell candy for deep discounts on Nov. 1. Resist the urge to stock up!

How do you plan on keeping the sugar-intake to a moderate level for your kids?

If you want some healthy halloween treat options, consider some of these.