{GUEST POST} The Sweetness of Halloween – A Dietitian’s Opinion

By : | 0 Comments | On : October 29, 2015 | Category : Blog, Nutrition

 THE SWEETNESS OF HALLOWEEN: An Australian Dietitian’s Take on Halloween

by Deb Blakley (APD) from Kids Dig Food

Whether you love or hate it, it seems Halloween is here to stay. For some, Halloween may seem to be an unnecessary celebration here in Australia. A night where kids load up on as many sweets and lollies as they can possibly manage whilst they really have no idea what Halloween is all about. And just a few short weeks before Christmas. Really?

On the other hand, you may be all for the fun that Halloween creates for kids and adults alike. Who doesn’t like a good dress-up, right?

This year, I’ve decided to embrace the good and turn the rest into an opportunity to teach my daughter some great lessons about food and life.

Origins of Halloween
The festivities of Hallowe’en (All Hallows Eve) is celebrated on 31st October. It was arguably first celebrated in Gaelic Ireland and Scotland, but today is celebrated in many countries throughout the world that each have their own distinct Hallowe’en traditions. My cousin, who grew up in Scotland, tells me that Scottish tradition holds that children have to sing a song or tell a joke in order to get the “treat”. More a “trick FOR a treat” rather than “trick or treat”. In Scotland, it’s not just a matter of knocking on someone’s door and diving into the sweet bowl. I like that!

A Positive Spin on Halloween

  • Good old fashioned fun

Seriously, what better excuse for the whole family get to dress up and look silly?

  • History

Hallowe’en traditions vary all across the world. Why not take the opportunity to explore some of these and perhaps create some of your own?

  • Fun family time

Halloween, decorating your house, carving an enormous pumpkin or trick or treating can be a family event.

  • Learning how to stay safe

Halloween provides a perfect opportunity to teach personal safety and road safety to small children. Have a responsible adult chaperone young children at all times.

  • Get to know your neighbours

Say hi to your neighbours and share a laugh over who’s the scariest! Throw a party with neighbours or family and use food to celebrate. Home-made ghostly pizzas or monster fruit salad anyone?

  • Sharing

Teach children to take one or two items at each location, not a handful!

  • Managing the lolly stash

If your kids are intending to trick-or-treat, support age-appropriate responsibility for kids to manage their sweets stash. Provide opportunity for children to enjoy their stash, while providing structure so that nutrition is not undermined. After the evening of Halloween has passed, allow children to eat from their sweets stash at meal and snack times along with other nourishing food. Keep the sweets stash out of reach in-between meals.

  • Learn about food, satiety and our body

Halloween is a great opportunity for kids to tune into their bodies. If your child eats too much and ends up with a tummy ache, what a great learning experience! With kindness, discuss with your child what they might do next time to avoid that uncomfortable or sick feeling.

Aussie Halloween Etiquette

Leaving your front lights on in the evening of 31st October is a sign that you’re participating in Halloween celebrations. If you’d prefer not to partake, be sure to switch off. If you’re trick or treating, never knock on doors that are shrouded in darkness and respect everyone’s right to celebrate or not.

Alternative ways to celebrate

  • Halloween doesn’t need to be just about trick or treating and sweets.
  • Decorate your house, carve out an enormous pumpkin and scare trick or treaters with your cool costumes as they arrive.
  • Get the kids to help you make some fabulous sweet-free Halloween treats or pack some home-made Halloween-themed snacks in your child’s lunchbox.

Wishing you spooky dinners!

Deb x

About Deb

Introducing the Brisbane Dietitian, Nutritionist and mum who is passionate about kids learning to love good food from birth and beyond. Deb has 18 years’ experience as an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist, recognised by the Dietitians Association of Australia. She is an accredited practitioner of the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding for fussy eaters and problem feeders.

“Your family can start having happy mealtimes by losing the guilt, ditching the battles and eating happy!” Deb Blakley, Lead Dietitian and Nutritionist

I believe in the right of every person to EAT HAPPY!

I believe that every child’s capable of growing up to be a competent and confident eater no matter what the nutrition challenge is

I delight in helping families put the joy back into eating together.

Deb’s passion for kids learning to “dig” food was sparked by her 8 year old daughter, who provides a constant source of action learning and on the job training. Deb followed her heart to create Kids Dig Food in 2012 after many years as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, community dietitian and community nutritionist.  She has led initiatives as diverse as breastfeeding promotion, feeding practices in early childhood education settings and food security. In these roles she saw first-hand the difference that JOY makes to feeding and eating. Let Deb help you put the joy back into feeding your family today.

“FOOD – We chop it, bake it, serve it, share it, chat over it, offer it, savour it and munch on it. Let’s not get too caught up on the science, but show kids how to truly enjoy eating good food.”

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