The Switch Witch: How to maintain healthy habits during the season of tricks and treats.

By Kat Brown a Recent ASU Nutrition Student

Who can resist the opportunity to dress your little one up in an adorable costume and parade them around the neighborhood to show off their cuteness? Halloween is a magical time for both kids and parents, but how do you maintain your healthy eating habits and still partake in all the fun?

I think back to my days of trick or treating and dumping out a giant pillowcase full of candy onto the floor and beginning to take inventory of the sugar-laced treats that I had just spent hours collecting. I can only imagine the epic meltdown that would have occurred if my parents even attempted to tell me I couldn’t keep my hard-earned delicacies.

In fact, Jimmy Kimmel has even developed an entire skit around parents telling their children all of their Halloween candy is gone. So, when I saw Allison Sweeney from The Biggest Loser on Ellen talking about her tip to maintain healthy eating habits over Halloween I knew I would have to try this same tip. Allison told Ellen about how the Switch Witch visits their house every Halloween.

Here’s how it works, after enjoying all the fun of trick or treating kids come home and inventory their loot per usual. Then, they can decide how much of their candy they are willing to give up to the switch witch. The idea is that you present them with a sort of tiered reward system. The more candy they give up the better toy or gift they can receive. The switch witch wants as much candy as possible and the more you give up the better present you get. This allows children the ability to feel in control and also encourages them to make better health decisions on their own. A study done at Yale University with 284 children between the ages of 3 and 14 showed that children were just as likely to choose a toy when offered the option between toys and candy. They found that nonfood treats were easily linked with positive feelings. So begin the new tradition of the switch witch in your family today and start developing a healthy Halloween ritual! Plus, an added benefit is children learn how to bargain.

The Switch Witch!

Have YOU hear of the Switch Witch?

She’s hungry, fierce and fat!

She’s on the hunt for candy

To feed her naughty cat.

She likes the brightest lollipops

The green chews and the blue

And if you have some bubblegum

She’ll really want that too!

After trick or treating

Pick out some things to keep

And then put in a bucket

Sweets to swap in your sleep!

Only when you’re snoozing

The Switch Witch will drop-in

She’ll take out all the candy

And who knows what she’ll put in!

You might wake up and find a toy

Maybe some clothes to wear?

Something for your piggy bank?

Or a funny game to share?

So give the witch your brightest treats

For her cat instead

And in the morning you will find

A SWITCH on your bed!

To find a farmers market near you check out our website. For more fun articles and recipes check out the Fill Your Plate blog.

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