Candy Trade-In Spurs Healthy Living

Posted October 30, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

Cindy HutterThis is the first year my daughter truly “gets” Halloween. Last year, when she was one, she teetered up to houses and looked super cute scoring “things” to put in her bag. She didn’t understand what she was getting was candy or that candy was something you ate. This year it’s a whole different ball game.

It’s not even Halloween yet and we’ve been to four Halloween events. Now my daughter understands that what she is collecting is candy, and that it is delicious. What she hasn’t quite mastered is that you don’t stop to eat each piece as you get it. (Sigh.)

Luckily, these pre-Halloween events were more about dressing up and painting pumpkins than candy collection. What I’m dreading is the real trick-or-treating. I’m gearing up for some terrible two-like epic meltdowns as I keep explaining that we are just collecting candy, not eating it.

Yes, she’ll get to have some, and I’ve already called dibs on any Twix bars, but that leaves the question of what to do with the rest of the loot.

A former coworker of mine shared an ingenious idea of what she does in her family. Each year she creates a chart explaining what each piece of candy can be traded for. For example:

1 piece of candy = Tickle time
2 pieces of candy = Extra book at bedtime
3 pieces of candy = 10 extra minutes of biking
5 pieces of candy = 15 minutes of extra play time
10 pieces of candy = 30 minutes of extra play time
Whole bucket of candy = new toy

This is clever in so many ways. It teaches kids that there are rewards other than food. The chart can be customized to a specific child and his or her needs. And having trade-in options like extra biking or play time helps to reinforce healthy living.

Healthy living is essential for making sure children achieve their optimal health. In American, only one in three children are physically active each day. Our children now spend more than seven-and-a-half hours a day in front of a screen. And, empty calories from added sugars and fats contribute to 40 percent of total daily calories for children 2-18 years old. Starting a candy trade-in tradition for Halloween—or all year long—can be one small step to improve the healthy living status for our children.

What we do with that candy once it’s traded in…well, that’s another interesting question.

Cindy Hutter is the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at NICHQ.



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