AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The holiday known for candy and more of it is on the horizon. While the candy is sweet, some parents say their kids getting sick is not.
“We’ve had an experience where they’ve gotten sick. Either that night just because we were eating so much of it as we were going along, or they had had so much the next day their tummies were just achy and not feeling well,” said Michelle Wiley, a parent of seven children.
Other moms like Stephanie Bullock say it’s inevitable for people to have a bit too much candy in late October, including her 3rd grade daughter. “I think everybody this time of year can have one too many pieces of candy, she certainly has,” said Bullock. “She certainly had too much candy, and it’s definitely affected her mood or the different changes where they get a little hyper or excited.”
Casie Hill is a mother to two boys: a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old. She says she’ll never forget one happened one year when they went all out. “When Joe was three, and Jack was five, I had the mindset that we’re just gonna go all out on Halloween, and then it’s gone–no more candy. One ate too much, and the next morning we’re sitting in the car line on mother’s day out, and he got sick,” said Hill.
Other parents like Jennie Palacz say she doesn’t recall a time when her kids got sick. “I don’t think our kids ever did get sick,” said Palacz. “We always gave out a little each night, and kind of strung it out over the week or two after.”
She’s the director of the lower schools at Augusta Christian Schools. She says being in the school system, it’s important for parents to ensure their kids are having fun while also taking care of the little things.
“As an educator, if families could have a good solid meal before they go trick or treating, then go trick or treating, have a little bit of candy when they get home, and keep that normal bedtime, I think that is so helpful,” said Palacz.
So the question for experts is: how much candy is too much candy? Pediatric Dieticians like Haley Newton say there isn’t a magic number, but moderation is super important. “I think moderation is key to a lot of things. So, making sure candy isn’t replacing a meal or a snack. It could be a treat after a meal or after a snack, but it shouldn’t replace a balanced, nutritious meal ever,” said Newton.
According to Newton, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 10% of daily calories should come from added sugars for those over the age of 2. For those under the age of 2, the guidelines say added sugars should be avoided completely.
In terms of what to do, Newton suggests for parents to monitor their children, but not restrict them from eating candy because it can lead to unproductive behavior patterns. “As a parent, I think it’s important to offer your child candy. Because when you start restricting sweets such as candy, or you call it bad food, that can lead to behavior where the child finds candy more desirable, than letting them decide how much they should eat.”
Newton also says it’s important for the parent to model healthy behavior for the child, that way it teaches them what a healthy diet and behavior around candy looks like.
At the end of the day, she says despite needing to have that discipline, celebrating Halloween and eating candy is something that every child should enjoy. “The bottom line is, let your child enjoy Halloween, it’s like one day out of the whole year,” said Newton. “Parents should also enjoy Halloween with their child, and let them indulge a little, because I don’t think restricting candy on Halloween is a smart idea.”
Halloween is next Tuesday.
The big takeaway here is that getting and eating candy is not a bad thing. But as the experts say, just remember to keep that sweet tooth in check.