Halloween is here, and although it is a newly emerging holiday here in Singapore, for many from other parts of the world, it is a fun, festive holiday that includes lots and lots of candy. For many parents, the holiday brings about an internal panic over how to limit or control the amount of sugar that their kid(s) eat during this holiday.
Most people have heard the guidelines to healthy eating in some form – almost all developed countries have their own version, and all of them say limit the sweet and salty snacks. Because of this, in many households, Halloween becomes a trying time of wills, between parents and kid(s) over how much is an acceptable amount of the precious sweet loot that the kid(s) worked so hard to collect. It makes sense to most parents that the only way to manage their kid(s) intake is by limiting the amount that they consume. Reality is actually counterintuitive. Studies show that limiting and restricting certain foods that kid(s) want to consume puts the kid in a deficient mindset, which causes them to lose the ability to self-regulate with the restricted food, regularly overeating when the food is available. If kid(s) are left to self-regulate themselves, in this instance, with candy, they will be able to consume what satisfies them.
We hosted a Halloween party this weekend for my little one’s class, and you can see by the way the kids ate, their self-regulating abilities. There were some who happily picked and chose the foods they wanted from the buffet of foods. There were some who were very timid and only ate the foods their parents gave to them, and there were some who continued to gravitate toward the candies and jelly every time they had the opportunity and ate as much of it as they could.
The good news for all parents is that it is never too late to change the ways you feed your kids. Kids are extremely adaptable and are able to return to a self-regulating state with the change of mealtime patterns and behaviours. So, if you are concerned with your kid(s) eating habits, this maybe a good time to start making changes.