How We Got Through Halloween Candy Without a Single Meltdown: Alternatives to the Classic Candy Binge
Photo by Lisa Bunchofpants
Halloween, however, is without a doubt the favorite holiday around here. We all dress up (and I do mean all of us!) and take turns passing out the treats. This year, she asked to go as a witch, so I went as her kitty. Michael went as a Jedi Warrior, and we bought the most adorable onsie and hat set for Jude to go as R2D2. Yes, we are huge and unabashed nerds in this house. Naomi could recognize Yoda long before she could recognize Ronald McDonald.
Last year was a nightmare. Naomi, Michael and myself opted to binge on the candy for a week straight to get rid of it. The result was a little girl who was overloaded, overhyped and overwhelmed. It was heartbreaking, and the withdrawl that followed was just as bad. It took almost a whole month to get her back to her normal, healthy self. Sugar after that became a bad word in our house, and even now, I almost always half the sugar in any recipe I make. I vowed that next year, we would find a way that we could use to control the sugar monster. But how do I balance the memory making and joy from Halloween for Naomi with the results of a sugar binge? There are actually a lot of options! I was pretty surprised when I looked into it this summer and discovered so many great options!
R2D2 was not cooperating. Seriously, this is the best pic of him I got. 😛 #halloween A photo posted by Nada (@nadasings) on
1. Buy Candy From Your Child. Some parents offer their children a set amount of money ($0.10 to $0.25 per piece) to their children. You could let them save their favorites (like the chocolate bars) and at the same time, buy the junky candy corn and lollipops, and let them buy a new toy or game instead. I did offer this option to Naomi, but she wasn’t at all interested. Maybe next year.
2. Look Into Trade In Offers at Dentist Offices. This is a great idea. Several dentist offices in my city were willing to trade money to a child per pound of candy. My local dentist was offering $1 per pound. But again, Naomi wasn’t interested in this. She much preferred the candy.
3. Send Extra Candy to Military Personnel Overseas. I had heard of people doing these things for Christmas, but it never would have occurred to me to do this for Halloween. What a great idea! This takes place in Canada and in the United States (not sure about in other countries).
Unfortunately, the idea of parting with her hard-earned treats didn’t exactly appeal to Naomi. So instead, I opted to go with a more structured method. I laid down some rules and stuck to them strictly.
a. Naomi could have three individual pieces of candy a day. One of those had to be chips. Chips don’t seem to have much of an effect on her. She was allowed to pick the treat herself, either a piece of candy, a lollipop, a bag of chips, etc. and that was the only thing she was allowed to have until the next time. This gave her a choice of what she wanted to have at that time. It was rather surprising to see her go through the “healthy” (yeah right!) gummy candies first, and focus less on the chocolates.
b. She could only have a treat after she had eaten her whole meal beforehand. Didn’t matter what I was serving, or what meal it was — if the meal wasn’t finished, no candy. Period. This also guaranteed that she had a full stomach, and her body was busy breaking down the carbs, proteins and fats, instead of just candy.
c. Candy was a privilege that could easily be taken away. Candy was not something that she got just because. It could be used as a punishment in the event that a punishment was deemed necessary (not something that happens often). If Michael or I thought that she had consumed too much sugar already in the day (on the odd occasions that we ate out or she had juice, etc), it was okay for us to say that she’d had enough candy for the day. She is really good at recognizing this herself, and accepted it for the most part without much argument.
d. Dessert and candy cannot go together. If I had made cookies or cake, she was welcome to have some of that instead of the candy. But she couldn’t have both. I was actually surprised how many times she would choose a small piece of hard candy over a lovely slice of chocolate cake. I am guessing it’s the novelty.
The results have been wonderful. Tomorrow, she will enjoy the last three pieces of candy and will have been able to enjoy the treats that she enjoyed gathering almost a month ago, and with almost no issues whatsoever. We will try the other options again next year, but if she isn’t interested in parting with her treats, I will again set down the candy rules and we can enjoy letting her have her treats without having to go through the chaos it creates.
A photo posted by Nada (@nadasings) on
Over my extended break, our family really got away from eating a lot of processed crap and finding ways to make things ourselves. We became wild fans of soups (oh the soup recipes I have to share with you!). But in our effort to steer away from packages and boxes, we weeded out saltines and crackers in favor of homemade breads and rolls.
My biscuit recipe was a mainstay in our home (and landed me a spot in Kristen Welch’s That Works for Me ebook last year!) but occasionally we’d forget to make it. We needed to come up with a quick, easy bread recipe that would allow us to make a bread for soups that didn’t need to rise or take hours baking.
Enter Jamie Oliver.
We have become huge fans of Jamie in the last few months. He has taken my loving, caring, unbelievably handsome husband from a man who couldn’t boil potatoes to a man who hand-cranks his own pasta, brews his own beet tonic, and now consumes a smoothie made of fresh raw fruit every morning. Yes, I know he doesn’t get much love in the US (we Canadians seem to love him!) but we love Jamie here at the Sheppard’s house.
Jamie showed us how to make mini Yorkshire puddings in less than 20 minutes. And we love love love them! We make them almost once a week because they are so easy and quick to do! I have come home, mixed these up, and they’ve been ready for the dinner table before I’ve had a chance to get settled down to eat.
So here’s my interpretation of Jamie’s recipe:
- 1 huge coffee cup of white whole wheat flour
- 1 egg
- 1 huge coffee cup of milk
- Turn your oven on 425 degrees. Toss an ungreased muffin tin in the oven.
- In your blender, blend together your flour, egg, and milk. We only use powdered milk in our house for baking, so I usually just toss in the milk powder into the blender and then the water.
- Turn on your blender and run til you have a thick white batter. Turn off and set aside.
- Using an oven mitt, grab your muffin tin out of the oven. Take some olive oil and quickly pour enough to cover the bottom of each cup (no need for liners).
- Pour your batter from the blender into the muffin tins and pop it back into the oven. If you have some left over, grab another muffin tin or wait til your first one is done and repeat.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and puffed up beautifully.
- Take out, pull out of tin, and serve hot with butter and soup.
This post is a part of…
On the weekend we were blessed to enjoy a delicious homemade turkey dinner with Michael’s parents, his brother and sister-in-law, and their adorable niece. Naomi and “Lala” had a wonderful time wandering around the house, reading, playing and getting to know one another. It was great to get to see everyone again in my in-law’s gorgeous log cabin in the woods.
Michael’s mother normally takes the carcass and makes turkey soup afterwards, but this year she decided she would just toss it. Rather than let it go to waste, I volunteered to take it home and make use of it. So she took off enough meat for them to have sandwiches the next day and sent me home with the remains.
After pulling apart Mr. Turkey, I was delighted when I had about 5 cups of turkey meat, and enough bones and skin to overflow my humble little crockpot (thanks again, Sebastian — she’s getting plenty of use!). There’s nothing more wonderful than making something out of nothing. And, it took me less than 15 minutes, start to finish!
Today, we’ll add some carrots, onions, peas, and spices, along with turkey and noodles, and let it simmer all day tomorrow for a delicious turkey soup. And we have enough meat left over to make hot turkey sandwiches for supper tonight, with some oven roasted potatoes and carrot sticks. Delish!
So before you think that getting the last bit off that turkey isn’t worth it, stop! If you don’t have the time to deal with it now, throw it in a bag and freeze it — he’ll come in handy later when you’re craving turkey soup.
|Sunday Night Soup Night
Easy Natural Food
|Real Food 101
Ruth’s Real Food
|Tackle It Tuesdays
5 Minutes for Mom.
|Real Food Wednesdays
Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
|Pennywise Platter Thursdays
The Nourishing Gourmet.
Kate is also offering up a generous discount! The first fifty people who use the promotional code BIBLAUNCH50 will receive 50% off the purchase price! If you don’t get one of those first fifty copies, you can still use BABYFEED35 to get 35% off as well (valid until March 20th!). Can’t beat a deal like that!
Disclaimer: Yes, I am compensated for some (but not all) of the purchases made via the referral links in this post. You can read my entire disclosure policy here.