Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!


Halloween... wierd holiday I admit.  I tell my kids to avoid sugar and then I send them out with monster sized bags and we bag for candy... from strangers... that I tell them not to talk to or take candy from.  Crazy crazy day.  BUT... I do it!  I must be a monster hypocrite right?  Well... I read these two articles this week and it got me thinking....

Two interesting articles:
One about a woman handing out "letters" to fat kids instead of candy (while she gives "skinny" kids candy?)  Here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57610010/n.d-woman-to-hand-out-fat-letters-to-obese-kids-during-halloween/

This article is a response to her letter from someone that has lost weight and cleaned up their diet and is still handing out candy  : http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1054854

....
Where do I stand?
I like to have fun.  I like a good treat.  I like a good party.  SO... YES, I do go out and take my kids trick or treating.  I hand out candy to other people's kids no matter their size. "WHAT???   But Michelle, You seem to be a health nut.!"

I hear ya.   This does seem hypocritical and something I have had to think through every year for the past 5 years as I have sought better health while maintaining a "normal" life for my family.

Here are some ideas about how to cope with this Holiday and help your kids and yourself a little while still having a great time.

#1 - CHILL OUT!  Stress causes cortisol build up which produces belly fat.  Quit stressing about other people and other people's kids.  Just worry about YOU and your own family.  That is all you can do.

#2 - Load your house up with GOOD foods and make sure your regular meals are loaded with healing and disease fighting foods.  Foods and spices to keep around: Garlic, Ginger, Bananas, Oranges, Cayenne, Real Chicken soup (easy to make your own by the way!), Carrots, Onions. Berries (fresh if possible).  You know what?  I could go on and on about good food choices, But I will let you read more here: http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/photos/10-flu-fighting-foods/got-the-sniffles

Personally, tonight I am making a pumpkin soup loaded with garlic, onion, spinach, wildrice, mushrooms (shhhh... don't tell my 14 year old about the mushrooms), Turkey and... well...  loads of goodies.  I don't have a recipe, I make it up as I go.  Sorry.

#3 - If you have a serious problem with kids eating so much candy on Halloween - DON'T GIVE IT OUT!  Simple.  You can lock your door and put up a sign that says "We don't do Halloween, Go away!".  Our kids avoid houses that have the lights off and aren't decorated.  We just assume they don't do Halloween.  Simple.  OR  you can be THAT person that gives out pencils or spider rings or vampire teeth.  
 Or... Hey... why not apple slice  packets?  or Rice cakes?  I don't know.  Get creative.  Candy isn't the only thing in the world.  Sure some kids don't like it, But who cares????  They don't get to choose what you decide to purchase.  You do.  Just because everybody else is doing candy, doesn't mean you have to.  my kids love bouncy balls and vampire teeth longer than they love the tootsie rolls.

#4 - Go DO STUFF!  Why not either limit or skip the trick or treat and go do the corn maze or haunted house.

#5 - Plan a party with games and fun! AND create good options for the kids.
You can even make "healthy - er" snacks.  What I mean by healthy-er is you don't have to just have a veggie tray, there are LOTS of options
Ideas:
Green Smoothies - call it "Monster juice".  My kids wouldn't try green smoothies until I called it Monster juice - 5 years ago.  Now they love it.
Spicy Popcorn - have you tried putting other spices on popcorn instead of butter and salt?  We have had Cajun popcorn, Southwest and Italian Popcorn.  Try something new.
There are TONS of ideas out there.  I am sure you can go onto pinterest and find Fun and healthy Halloween snacks.  It really can be a fun thing to do.  IN FACT, Kids will love getting involved and planning with you and preparing the food.  Let them create their own banana ghost pop. Here are just a couple of sites that have great ideas:
http://www.365halloween.com/halloween-food/fun-healthy-halloween-snacks.php

http://www.roommomspot.com/2012/10/08/school-party-ideas-for-fall/

Seriously, all I did was google "Healthy Halloween snacks"  and LOADS of creative people out there have already done the hard work for me.  Thank heaven for creative people that share their ideas online!  Love them!

#6 - If/When your kids do go trick or treating, ration out their candy for them!  No really.  I do this every year.  I go through their candy with them (and take the candy tax they owe me as their mother that I keep for me).  We split up the candy.  They get to keep about 10 of their favorite pieces that they usually gobble immediately and then we load them up with garlic and veggie soups.  The second Pile is a small one.  It's my favorites that I take and put away for me.  I am admitting it.
But the 3rd pile is the key. It is the REST of the monster pile of candy.  Why do they need that much candy right now?  Flu season is approaching and giving my kids unlimited access to huge amounts of sugar is just ASKING for illness.  SO... we take the rest of the candy and put it in a bowl or other container and hide it away for special treats and awards for good deeds.  After a certain period of time and they have forgotten the hidden candy... I will either throw it away or take it into a dentist or care center or anyone else that wants to have candy around.  Maybe your local clergyman keeps a bowl of candy on his desk?  I know my Bishop does.  He can take my kids candy.  I am sure if you can't bare to throw it out, you can find someone that will put it to good use.  But rationing the amount of sugar they take all at once is critical.  Kids need parents to assist them in learning good habits.  Teaching your kids that they can eat as much sugar as they want and get sick probably isn't the best habit to build.

#7 - Don't forget to exercise!  It's amazing how many calories you can consume in a few pieces of candy.  This is the season of overdoing the calories and staying indoors and getting sick because of our poor habits.  GET UP, GET OUT, GET MOVING!

#8 - Know your own limitations.  Not all of us are made the same.  Some of us have addictive tendencies.  It's why some people can have a sip of alcohol and become an alcholic while others can stay in control and have a glass of wine at dinner every night.  I am not a drinker - period.  But just using this as an example since it is most widely understood as far as widely spread addiction.  Sugar addiction is very much the same.  There are those that can limit their consumption and be in control and others that take one bite and go CRAZY!!!  What are your tendencies?  Are you a sugar addict and need to avoid it completely or are you able to control your portions and take one piece and be content?  Decide in advance and be honest.  Create a plan of action according to your needs.  Do you need to bring the healthy snacks to the Party?  Do you need to throw out the candy?  Do you need to find other activities?  Be honest with yourself.  It might be a good year to start a new tradition and do something that doesn't involve sugar.

 I know my kids are at school right now getting loaded up on sugar.  You can bet I won't be adding to it at my house and stocking my own home with candy.  My 6 year old keeps asking me when I am going to buy candy.  I broke his little heart when I told him I won't be buying more candy.  Trust me.  He'll be fine.  We will do the trick or treating thing at other people's homes ... AFTER he's eaten a healthy dinner.

You know what?  I think I may start giving them a vitamin C and Garlic pill every morning from now til New Year's.
Hot tip to keep out of everything else:  YOU control what comes into your home and what YOU choose to allow for your family.  If you go to someone else's home, you may choose to enjoy what they have for you.  But once you get back in YOUR doors... what options does your family have?  Supply them with great food that heals and supports their health.

Just for fun:  I love this video... enjoy it...
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnzbZ2RA4qQ

They made nasty healthy snacks and have no idea how to do it right. It still makes me laugh.

Happy Halloween my friends!
Don't forget to sign up for the Holiday season round of bootcamp.  I have a feeling you and I will be needing it!
 - Michelle

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